York Cocoa Works Review + Photos

York is famous for its chocolate and no surprise that there is plenty of chocolate making options in York including the York Cocoa Works tour.

We visited the York Cocoa Works in York City Centre as part of our 3 day York pass and it was our most memorable attraction, all for the wrong reasons. Read below to learn what happened.

Cocoa works york

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York Cocoa Works

During our York City Pass we have done so many greats and I have had just as much fun writing about it, as I have doing it.

During day 1 on our York Pass we did the brilliant red sightseeing bus and then on day 2 we did York Castle Museum.

What they both had in common is the attention to detail about learning about the history of York and most importantly learning about the chocolate. Whilst I knew the long history of York’s Kit Kats and how they were produced in the millions in York and the same with Rowntree products, what I was surprised about, was how much of my favourite Terry’s Chocolate Orange was made in York.

kit kats in york
This is what we saw on the wall in York Castle Museum. Rather shocked and how many kit kats are produced in York every single day. Now I am craving eating one!

So of course, combined with the knowledge of the chocolate of York we wanted to visit York Cocoa Works and learn even more about it.

Arriving Late To The Cocoa Works

I love telling you when things go wrong for me and when I make stupid mistakes. So, I just to share why we arrived mega late to The Cocoa Works and why I needed to reschedule our slot and then how I ended up late again to our re-scheduled time!!!

Okay so we had about 30 minutes from our time slot at The Cocoa Works and headed from our previous attraction at DIG. We put Cocoa Works York into our Google Maps and it directed us.

I was shocked it was 25 minutes away, as I thought it was closer, but in that tourist way, I went with it!

Well, we finally got the joke when we got there…..

By the same name as York Cocoa Works is what is the old factory that is how being made into apartments. So, there is us thinking that we are at the old factory and that is the location of the cocoa testing, its actually just residential housing and we are nowhere near the place we should be.

the cocoa works location
When we were walking up it looked like this and of course, we just thought we were walking up to the old Rowntree factory and didn’t think we were in the wrong place!

We had then walked with the kids all the way out of the city to what we thought was the right place, to tell them that we need to walk all the way back.

Though this bothered me MORE because I was just trying to get every bit of use out of the York Pass and this had cost me an hour on the York Pass.

As we walked back, I phoned the real Cocoa Works, (don’t know how they didn’t laugh) and we got a later slot for the same day.

Then later that day, we decided to do a quick hop on, on the hop on and hop off tourist bus, and was told that it took JUST 40 minutes than it was 1 hour+. This then meant we were just short of 10 minutes LATE getting to Cocoa Works. They were very nice and let us join the tour as we arrived.  

So, whatever you do, don’t head out of town thinking that the cocoa works is at the old factory! And in my defence note that when you Google “York Cocoa Works” or add it to Google Maps the property comes up first.

What Is York Cocoa Works?

York Cocoa Works is a shop that sells delicious, and I mean REALLY DELICIOUS chocolate in the city of York. They have a good variety and even have hot chocolate powder made from their cocoa.

They also have their own café and a very small (its not like your average factory) mini factory where they produce their own chocolate, and you can look through the window at the chocolate making process.

As well as this York Cocoa Works also has a big table for when they do the chocolate taste testing and another room for where you can do the chocolate lollypop making.

We didn’t do the lollipops because our visit to The Chocolate Works was all about making use of the York Pass and sadly the lollipops are not included in it, which we thought was a real shame.

Cocoa Works Parking

For parking options for the cocoa works, there are a few carparks such as the one right near the Jorvik Centre, but they are hit and miss if they have spaces or not.

We prefer to use the York Park & Ride service because then you don’t have to worry about getting parked and they have some brilliant spots in York for drop off/pick up. 

Getting To Chocolate Works York

Getting to York’s Chocolate Works is EASY and is on one of the shopping streets, so don’t expect a factory style entrance. Instead, you are entering a café that also doubles up as a taste testing venue.

When you arrive at the chocolate works you head to their front desk which is like booking in for a reservation of the café.

Then you head outside, and they take you to the side of the chocolate factory whilst they explain some of the important things about the chocolate making process and let you learn about chocolate.  

Of course, like we mentioned, we were late, so we jumped in as they were explaining things and Jorge was handed a big cocoa block which he was very pleased to check out.

jorge learning at cocoa works
Here it is. Jorge just wants to know how this block becomes his favourite chocolate bar that he sits in front of the TV with on a Friday night.

Then after some good information about the process you head back inside. This is where you can see a lot of the products used and you soon sit down to taste test some chocolate and see what you think…..

factory at the cocoa works
This was the closest we got to seeing how the chocolate is made. I would have preferred to be closer or having a walk through area so we could see lots of the processes.

Chocolate Works Taste Testing Begins…..

We are all sat down around a large table, and everyone has water and a chopping board with different squares of chocolate to try as well as cocoa nibs.

chocolate works taste testing begins
This was the setup of the table before chocolate taste testing and plenty of room for everyone and for everyone to see the instructor.

The instructor is at the top of the table explaining everything and we are right at the bottom. Its at this point we realise we are the only non-Americans there. I love how Americans just love York and how excited they get at our culture and the culture of York.

I was also thinking how different UK chocolate is to US chocolate and how much Americans prefer our chocolate over their own.

After tasting the chocolate, I noticed the Americans comment how different it was to their own and that is when the chocolate expert filled us in on a very interesting fact that I had no idea about.

Different places around the world have different regulations of the quantity of cocoa in the chocolate to be allowed to call it chocolate.

For the USA they only need to include 10% cocoa, whilst the UK it must be 20%, and Switzerland must be 40%.

This explains why UK chocolate tastes better than the US and why I am so obsessed with Swiss chocolate and love it the most compared to any other chocolate.

So, if you are American reading this you know now why you love English chocolate so much.

The Chocolate Cocoa Testing Process Continues…

They tease you first by placing the chocolate in front of you and explaining more first about the process before you can tuck in.

You get to see how big a cocoa is and how it goes from a cocoa bean to being the cocoa that goes into your chocolate.

This is so funny watching the kids with the chocolate beans because they can’t believe it goes from this to their chocolate.

cocoa bean at cocoa works
This was one of the chocolate beans that we all got to hold and just imagine that the chocolate starts off like this before it becomes our chocolate bars.

Then next on the list after they explained the coco beans, their vanilla and so many other greats we got to our platter of taste testing, and I am sure this is why most of us are there.

We started with the cocoa nibs that were delicious, whilst Dom and the kids who are not big on dark chocolate passed on them.

cocoa nibs at cocoa works
We got a big ramekin of cocoa nibs and because it was only me trying them, there was plenty left when we were done.

Then after we did the ramekin of cocoa nibs, the lovely lady showed us the remaining chocolates that had been cut up into bite sized squares.

You start off with really dark chocolate I.e high level of cocoa and then work your way down. Those that don’t do very dark chocolate wont like the first two, but there are plenty to choose from.

We had 90% chocolate first, then 80% chocolate, 75% Dominican Republic was one of my favourites, we then had 69% followed by a 40% Nigerian. Then two different milk chocolates and a white chocolate.

The kid’s favourite was the white chocolate which we later bought as hot chocolate powder, then my favourite was the 75% Dominican Republic because I love a dark chocolate.

Then when you are done with taste testing the different chocolates, you can ask any questions if you have some, then head into the shop and purchase some chocolate or have a bite to eat in the café.

york cocoa works chocolate tasting
This was our platter of chocolate that we got to taste test. Of course, you can never have enough chocolate!

Chocolate Making York Review

We loved the choice of chocolates to test at Cocoa Works York. But for the price (currently £30 a trip) we felt it was rather expensive compared to other York Pass attractions. For example, Jorvik Centre provides an annual pass, so does Jorvik DIG and there you are just on a quick taste test at Cocoa Works.

Also, if they included the chocolate lollipop it would be more value for money rather than tasting the chocolate. I also partly feel like it’s a pre-sell to then get you buying the chocolate which most would expect it to be free.

We did enjoy the chocolate though and it was nice for something different to do in York.

york cocoa works white chocolate hot chocolate
This was the white hot chocolate powder we took home with us.

Cocoa Works York Visitor Information

  • Where is the chocolate works York located? The Chocolate Works York is on a cute shopping street in York City Centre. It is at 10 Castlegate York and is easy to access. We used our Google Maps to find it though do make sure you choose the right Cocoa Works.
  • How long does it take to do the Cocoa Works? We recommend allocating about 30 minutes for the chocolate talk, followed by another 30 minutes for sampling the chocolate and buying some chocolate supplies to take home.
  • Is York Chocolate Works worth a visit? Yes, just to sample and buy the chocolate. I am sure if I am ever passing in the future that we will go inside and buy some chocolate to take home with us.
  • Is York Chocolate Works included in York Pass? Yes, it is. We visited Cocoa Works York as part of our 3 day York Pass and it is easy just give the staff your QR code from your York Pass.
  • Does York Chocolate Works have a café? Yes, it does. Though because we were heading out to our next attraction we didn’t stay in the café. But if we were on a day trip to York and just visiting the area for some shopping we would do so.
  • What are York Chocolate Works opening times? The chocolate works opening times are 9am to 5.30pm and we recommend heading there in the afternoon.
  • York taste testing tickets. The cocoa works prices for a family of four (2 adults and 2 kids) is £30.00. Though we had the chocolate trip included in our York Pass.
  • What is York Pass? I have mentioned our York Pass a few times. Basically, it’s a York ticket where you have access to loads of York attractions for a set price. Kind of like when you get a special pass for theme parks. I recommend you read our York pass review here because we explain how to do it and save money as it’s easy to waste money on it. Plus, we run through all the attractions we did for the pass including our trip to the cocoa works.

Pin The Cocoa Works For Later!

Well, that’s a wrap, do you have any questions then do ask below and if you want to refer back, to this later for planning your York day out then don’t forget to pin it to your travel board or days out board on Pinterest.

our trip to cocoa works york

you should plan a visit to cocoa works york
About the author

Run by Sam, Dom, Kyle, Sofia & Jorge it documents our family’s love for eating out, day trips, road trips and great holidays.

We just love a trip, we love to travel, and here we will show you with a little planning, how to have a great adventure and create new memories along the way!

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