Japanese innovation and craftsmanship – Minimal Bean-to-Bar, Japan

Minimal's founder Takatsugu Yamashita

Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Minimal Chocolate transcends borders with its innovative approach to chocolate-making, infusing each creation with a uniquely Japanese sensitivity and craftsmanship. In 2023, their Arhuaco 67% dark chocolate won Gold at the Asia-Pacific Competition and became the Best in Competition, Overall Winner in the plain/origin dark bar category.

Everything from chocolate bars through pastries and other delights
Awards: Tell us about your work with chocolate and cacao. 

Minimal: Born in Tokyo, Japan, Minimal infuses this distinctly Japanese sensitivity and craftsmanship into the world of chocolate, presenting “new chocolates” that celebrate the individual flavors and aromas of cacao from different regions. We breathe new life into the conventional realm of Western chocolate by emphasizing the essence of the ingredients and savoring their natural tastes and scents.

Awards: When did you start working with chocolate?

Minimal: In 2014.

Awards: How has your business developed since those beginnings?
Minimal: We started by making single-origin chocolate bars, but then we started to explore new possibilities using cacao chocolate, developing gâteau chocolates, patisseries, and course meals using chocolate, and we are currently operating 4 stores in Tokyo.
Awards: Where are your chocolates sold now? 
Minimal: Online store, 4 directly managed stores in Tokyo, wholesale stores throughout Japan.
Awards: How many different origin bars do you make? And tell us about your flavoured bars, filled chocolates, spreads or dragées or any other chocolate-based products you offer, too. 

Minimal: Currently 21 types. In addition to bars, we also sell almond chocolate, baked goods such as cookie tins, cakes and other fresh confections, as well as gateau chocolates.

Awards: What are your plans for the future of your company?

Minimal: Based on our identity as a chocolate specialty store born in Tokyo, Japan, we would like to continue to deliver new and unprecedented chocolate experiences.
We are currently only selling in Japan, but we hope to expand our focus to the rest of the world so that more and more people can enjoy chocolate.
Masato Asahi, chief chocolate maker at Minimal
2023 Asia-Pacific, Best in Competition, overall winner dark chocolate bar with notes of grape jam
Awards: Can you tell us something about what The International Chocolate Awards means to you.
Minimal: It is an award that allows us to check where we are at. It is one of the awards that gives feedback to the chocolatiers and allows us to deliver objective value to our customers.
Awards: Tell us about your overall plain/origin dark bar winner from 2023: Arhuaco (91.9). Why is it special for you?
Arhuaco uses cacao beans produced by the Arhuaco ethnic minority in Colombia, and the beans themselves have a wonderful acidity.
We delicately adjust our production methods to suit the beans’ condition, which varies from year to year depending on the weather and other factors. We have developed our own special manufacturing methods to suit each bean and use the best recipe to express the flavor and aroma that makes the most of the individuality of the cacao bean.

Minimal Bean-to-Bar Chocolate

Tokio, Japan