Finnriver Journal

... No, it’s not a murder mystery set in a roaring 20’s nightclub, or a funky folk band. Susan Fitch is the founder of The Cocoa Forge.

Susan Fitch and The Cocoa Forge

Feb 10, 2021

Susan Fitch and The Cocoa Forge

No, it’s not a murder mystery set in a roaring 20’s nightclub, or a funky folk band. Susan Fitch is the founder of The Cocoa Forge. The Cocoa Forge is an "artisan, micro-batch chocolate factory, crafting rare heirloom and fine-flavor cacao varietals into stoneground, bean-to-bar chocolate.” Susan’s studies as an herbalist eventually lead to her love and respect for Theobroma Cacao years before. However, her journey to fix up the Town Forge, which took on many forms including cold storage for a Port Townsend brewery before and during prohibition, as well as a dry cleaning and laundry service, is very recent with about five years in the making. It took about three years to renovate the old building which was in dire need of repair.  Blackberries, home to a variety of creepy crawlers, were growing into the building and out through the ceiling; chunks of building crumbled away from time and salty air.  Basically it required building from scratch while saving the unique historical features like the beautifully restored fire doors from 1928 and the metal framed windows from the late 1800's.

The Cocoa Forge is nestled humbly behind the Key City Theater in Port Townsend, WA. Inside however boasts the hard work and passion of a company dedicated to creating a product with humanity in mind. A conversation with Susan quickly reveals the heart behind the mission, responsibly sourced foods, and goods. We spoke briefly about the dark side of cocoa sourcing including child labor, slavery and exploitation that is present today in West Africa, by manufacturers and companies who choose profit over people. We spoke also of the rising consciousness of people who are questioning where their goods are coming from and how it is sourced and the importance of this collective awakening moving forward. 

Susan gave me a tour of the facility and guided me verbally through the steps including sourcing, evaluating, sorting, roasting, cracking, winnowing, grinding, refining, conching, tempering, molding, wrapping, and packaging. Unlike mass produced products that have unnecessary additives and are often grown with chemicals, The Cocoa Forge produces chocolate in its purest form starting from the source, and with all organic ingredients.

Dark Chocolate: cacao and sugar
Dark Milk Chocolate: cacao, sugar, milk, cocoa butter
White Chocolate: natural, unprocessed, organic cacao butter, milk, sugar. 

She has also tempered and molded a new vegan milk chocolate bar and used a gluten-free/vegan oak milk.

If you are looking for a local Chocolate Maker who will greet you with a welcoming smile, a sparkle in her eyes and a wealth of knowledge about the world of Cocoa, I strongly encourage you to reach out to Susan Fitch. We are so happy to have her chocolates paired with our Finnriver Cider and Brandywines in our “Cocoa Valentine” gift set.

You can learn more about Susan Fitch and The Cocoa Forge and where she sources her cocoa from at

You can also view our “Cocoa Valentine” gift set by clicking here: