Winter Holiday Specials include a variety of outstanding single origin craft chocolate bars by the case, as well as the Southwest Collection trio makes for great gifts. The Online Store is open for Business. Get some and make the people you care about feel better. Thanks for your continued support along the way!

Derek Lanter

Coffee and Chocolate; What a Life!

Derek Lanter was raised in Aspen Colorado and grew up with the mountains, rivers and sunshine of the Rocky Mountain High.  For over 25 years he roamed the mountains, deserts and canyon country of the Four Corners region with dogs, friends and family.  Now, the journey continues in Santa Fe and the exploration of the Land of Enchantment that is New Mexico.

During his college years Derek studied in Japan for several years and returned to Oahu to complete his B.A. and M.A. studies of Japan and East Asia at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Derek also holds an MBA and pursued Pacific/Asian studies at the East West Center.

Sometime in the middle of all these studies, Derek helped his family to establish and run a specialty coffee business in Berkeley California called Uncommon Grounds Gourmet Coffee.  After a 25 year run the company was sold and Derek moved back to Hawaii to raise a family on the North Shore of Oahu taking a position with Dole Food Company Hawaii as co-manager of the fledgling Waialua Estate Chocolate and Coffee operation, part of the diversified agriculture program of Dole. Derek was the Marketing and Sales and Operations manager for Coffee and Chocolate, and implemented a quality control program in the post harvest processing for Coffee and Cacao.  

Under his guidance Waialua Estate grew to be a local favorite in Hawaii and an internationally recognized specialty brand for both coffee and chocolate, with exports to Japan, Taiwan, France, Dubai, Canada and the United States.  In 2015 Waialua Estate received the prestigious International Cocoa of Excellence award for its flavorful cacao beans.

Derek was a board member of the Hawaii Coffee Growers Association and was an original founder and first President of the Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Association which brought recognition to Hawaii grown cacao and gave rise to the craft chocolate bean to bar movement in Hawaii.

In 2015-16 Derek worked with Castle and Cooke Hawaii to design, build and equip the Waialua Chocolate Factory at Dole Cannery enabling Dole to produce their own chocolate bars on site in Honolulu. 

In the Summer of 2016 Derek left Hawaii for New Mexico to co-found Cacao Santa Fe with Melanie Boudar and find his place once again in the Mountain country while furthering his creative endeavors making bean to bar craft chocolate for the Cacao Santa Fe line and roasting fine single origin coffee for discerning pallets. He also likes to mix it up with special coffee - chocolate drinks in the espresso bar.  Come by and see us sometime.

Roasting Philosophy:

Derek has over 30 years experience with coffee roasting, sourcing, growing and processing earning the distinction of Roastmaster. He has grown, processed, roasted, bought and sold coffee and cacao beans and continues to source direct from friendly growers and  brokers and sets roast profiles that are matched to the particular characteristics of the bean.

Practicing a Zen-with-the-bean roasting style Derek approaches each bean type with "No Fear", and is unbound by trendy conventions. Comfortable roasting light or dark as suits the coffee and cocoa Derek's goal is to satisfy the taste preferences of the customer.  

As such, Ethiopian and Hawaiian beans are roasted light to enhance their delicate floral nuance while other coffees like Sumatra and Brazil are darker roasted to emphasize full bodied, rich, smooth, dark, delicious characteristics.  Other origins like Mexico are roasted with respect to an appropriate level to elicit floral notes and caramel tones with long smooth finishes. The coffee and chocolate is always fresh, delicious, and satisfying, just the way you like it.