Katie Chan is the owner and founder of The Chocolate Club Hong Kong, a fine chocolate import and service company that also runs chocolate tasting and pairing events.
What do you do?
The Chocolate Club Hong Kong is a hub where chocolate enthusiasts can share their savory experiences with chocolates. We source and deliver the finest single-origin, bean-to-bar craft chocolates across Asia. People might see chocolate as an unhealthy food but this is not true! Our vision is to change the way people view chocolate and to bring in new concepts where we can appreciate chocolate.
How does your business work?
Our business consists of two main parts: importing and distributing craft chocolate and organizing chocolate tasting and pairing workshops for education and marketing purposes. Personally, I believe they interrelate with each other in an important way. For example, the coffee market was revolutionized during the last two decades when specialty coffee became more accessible to consumers. Their unique tastes and aromas got recognized by a bulk of coffee lovers, therefore demand and consumption of specialty coffee increased drastically.
On the other hand, it is crucial to help customers understand the complexity of craft chocolate-making so that they can appreciate the real value of it. Hence, our business is also to create a platform, to introduce the new concept of using our five senses to taste chocolate, and to bring in unique chocolates from different origins to widen the scope of the Asian market.
How did your business get started?
I signed up for the chocolate tasting course organized by the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting (IICCT) in London in 2014. (Yes, there are proper ways to appreciate chocolate, just like wine!) That was an incredible experience where I learned many ways to appreciate chocolates. The discovery of the world of craft chocolate inspired me tremendously. This passion pushed me forward to pursue my business in this field, and I founded The Chocolate Club Hong Kong in 2014.
Who are your clients?
Our client base is chocolate lovers! They are from different backgrounds but have a common passion for chocolate. They are into exploring how chocolate can be appreciated together with different drinks like wine, tea and sake . Many of them are surprised by how the chocolate can taste so different if their origins are different.
We always welcome collaborations with different like-minded beverage brands. We have collaborated with and Sake Central to deliver the ultimate chocolate pairing experiences for our guests, and we were honored to be invited by organizations, prestigious clubhouses and premium beverage companies such as HSBC, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Moet Hennessy to tailor-made chocolate tasting or pairing experiences for their clients or staff.
What’s a day in your working life like?
I spend most of my working time with my team coming up with ideas for workshops and events. During the peak season for chocolate, which is during festive seasons, you will see us at markets and pop-up stores promoting craft chocolates. This is our favorite period of the year, as it allows us to engage with our customers directly. Besides that, we are constantly sourcing new chocolates from across the globe to ensure our chocolate portfolio is exciting enough for our customers.
Where do you see your business in the future?
We hope to be the most trustworthy chocolate platform that offers the best quality chocolate tasting journeys.
Our first virtual chocolate tasting workshop will be launching next month so that customers can experience their personal chocolate tasting at home.
We will continue to expand our chocolate range this year and to source the finest chocolates for the community, as well as exploring new ways to appreciate chocolates for our customers. I hope The Chocolate Club Hong Kong can continue to maintain a platform to promote chocolate tasting, widening the selection of craft chocolate products and making them accessible in Hong Kong.
An elevator convo with Katie Chan. See here for more from our Next Up series.