Knoops Hot Chocolate
Jens Knoops was working in opinion research, travelling a lot, filming focus groups for big brands. He needed a change and had moved from London to Sussex and felt it was time to start his own business, in something he felt passionate about.
Chocolate was a big part of his childhood in Germany. He spent a lot of time with his grandmother who gave him chocolate as a regular treat – she triggered the initial interest, which has grown into a passion that ultimately led Jens starting Knoops. “I wanted to create something chocolate-related that would make people happy — and I felt there was a big gap when it came to good quality hot chocolate.”
Jens continues, speaking of the origins of his chocolate beans. “In our chocolate library we have around 21 different chocolates at any one time, from around the cocoa-growing world. As well as blends, we offer a range of Single Origin chocolates from Venezuela, Colombia and Peru, and Madagascar, Uganda, and Tanzania. I was lucky to visit Peru last year, where I met growers, visited plantations, and was invited to plant my own cocoa which will be ready to harvest in 2022.
He opened his first shop in Rye in 2013 and in 2020 opened his first shop in London, near Clapham Junction. “It’s been an interesting year, but I am excited that we are now planning the opening of our next shop – it’s due to open on Kensington High Street in October.”
When you walk into a Knoops, you’ll see our chocolate menu with around 21 different chocolates strengths — from a sweet white 28 percent chocolate up to a 100 percent extra dark, with no added sugar. They’ll also be able to choose from a variety of milks.
“We work with the wonderful (and local) Northiam Dairy and we usually use whole milk, but we also have skimmed and semi-skimmed. Plus, for those avoiding dairy, we have oat, soya, almond, coconut and lactose-free options; so, there are plenty of vegan-friendly options, especially given all chocolates of 54 percent or above is vegan.”
Trained ‘Knoopologists’/hot chocolate baristas, will guide you through the menu, making recommendations, and explaining about some of the extras you can add. You can enjoy a classic, best-selling 34 percent milk chocolate, or go with something highly personalised, like a 72 percent chocolate with ground black pepper and crushed salt.
“Our chocolate menu has something for everyone, whether they have a sweet tooth or not. Try adding rosemary and sea salt to a hot chocolate; or the latest — lemon zest and pepper.”
“We have a range of herbs, spices and fruits that can be added. Some of our favourite combinations include a 34 percent milk chocolate with cinnamon and sea salt, an 80 percent with vanilla, or a 54 percent with orange zest – we’ll guide you but would encourage you to experiment. And of course, there are our famous handmade marshmallows!”
Jens has been developing their online shop, where they sell 10 different percentage chocolates in flakes, plus they’ve recently launched their hot chocolate maker — the Knoopifier, making it easy for people to enjoy a Knoops at home.
“This works best with our Knoopifier buttons — and you can subscribe to get a regular delivery of these to your door.”
Written and photographed by Cindy-Lou Dale