Theo Chocolate

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Theo Chocolate is a chocolatier in Seattle, Washington. Established in 2006, it is the first organic fair trade-certified cocoa producer in the United States.[1]

Theo has sourced beans from the Congo, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Madagascar, Peru, and Venezuela.[2] An equatorial crop, cocoa in the United States grows only in Hawaii.[3][4]


The business was established in 2006 by Jeff Fairhall and Joe Whinney in the Fremont, Seattle neighborhood, the business is located in a former brewery building at 3400 Phinney Avenue.[citation needed]

Jeff Fairhall, the founder of Seattle's Essential Baking Company, invested in establishing Theo Chocolate with Joe Whinney.[5][6] When he was in his early 20s, Whinney volunteered with a small conservation foundation in Southern Belize that was looking at the way that communities cultivated their crops, he discovered a passion for the Theobroma cacao plant and wanted to get into the business while supporting the farmers, and contacted 10 bean processors. One responded. While providing this business with organic materials and customers, Whinney was able to start saving up for a chocolate business of his own.[1]

The business struggled to find a good supply of organic cocoa beans and came to a halt in 2002, after finding an interested investor in Seattle, Washington, the decision was made to build the Theo Chocolate factory, named after the Theobroma cacao tree.[1]

Between 2004-2006 Fairhall sold all of his other business interests, retaining only Theo Chocolate, he published more than 30 advertisements in The Stranger about various religious ideas, revelations, and conspiracy theories. He also acknowledged using magic mushrooms.[5] Fairhall died of brain cancer in 2007.[5]


Theo Chocolate sells chocolate bars in six different categories: Classic, Fantasy, Limited Edition, Baking, Kids' Crunch and Holiday, the company also sells caramels and specialty items.[7]

Video case[edit]

Cengage Learning produced a 6:44-minute BizFlix video case titled "Theo Chocolate", which discusses the firm's fair trade practices and vertical integration.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Fair Trade Gambit. (Cover Story)." Candy Industry 171.9 (2006): 18. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 23 Oct. 2012.
  2. ^ "Cocoa Beans". 
  3. ^ Motavalli, Jim (2007). "Sweet Dreams". The Environmental Magazine. 18 (6). pp. 42–43. 
  4. ^ Wilson, H.W. (October 22, 2012). General Science. 
  5. ^ a b c Richman, Dan (19 September 2007). "Jeff Fairhall, 1958-2007: Entrepreneur pioneered healthful food to go -". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Gilmore, Susan (September 21, 2007). "Local News | Jeff Fairhall, owner of Essential Baking Co., dies at 49". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Chocolate Bars". Theo. Retrieved 2017-06-01. 
  8. ^ "Theo Chocolate". Cengage.