I’m pretty sure it’s a universal truth that chocolate solves all problems. Now, combine that warm, comfy feeling with coffee. Paradise, right? So of course, as soon as I heard that Raw Xocolat, a bean-to-bar chocolate factory and coffee shop, was opening its first location a few minutes from me in Brownsville, Texas, I had to try it. The main takeaway of my visit: whatever your problems are, Raw Xocolat is always the solution.
You can definitely taste all the work and care that goes into these chocolatey treats. This is a result of Jesus Bojorquez, owner and chocolatier, and his dedication to selling chocolate in the purest and most healthy form possible. In the shop, cacao beans are lightly toasted, broken down, and made into a paste. From there, the paste is refined to be made into Bojorquez’s delectable creations. For some more details, check out this video to delve into the delicious process. Warning: if you don’t already have something chocolate on hand while watching the video, drool may be imminent.
When I first walked into Raw Xocolat, I was struck by how a place dedicated to bringing back the old ways of chocolate could look so modern. It has a clean, minimalist feel, but the patterned tiles also give it a lot of character. Soothing guitar plays just quietly enough to allow for conversation, and the shelves towards the back of the shop are filled with Bojorquez’s signature chocolates, available for purchase. And with the aroma of cacao and coffee that greets you at the door, how could you resist?
After learning how the chocolate was made and smelling it in the shop, I was ready to get down to business. The menu was a bit daunting–everything looked so good–so I asked an employee which coffee was the most chocolatey. She pointed me towards the Criollo Cacao. And wow. I think I may have actually gasped after my first sip, but it’s all a blissful haze at this point. I do remember that it was incredibly rich, thick and slightly frothy, and the chocolate and coffee were perfectly balanced.
Then, it was time for food! I’d ordered a brownie, and for $5 at this fancy shop, I was expecting just that. But instead of a plain brownie, I was given a deluxe-size brownie, covered in homemade whipped cream and chocolate drizzle and garnished with strawberries. Now, there’s a lot to unpack there. The whipped cream is thick, almost like room-temperature vanilla ice cream, and the chocolate drizzle ties it in nicely with the brownie. The strawberries add some freshness and tartness to the whole ensemble, and the brownie itself? OUT OF THIS WORLD. Like with the coffee, I was blown away by the rich flavor. It’s almost overwhelming how dense and chocolatey it is. I had serious regrets about agreeing beforehand to split it with my friend, because despite its size, I wanted that beauty all to myself.