Retreat Drinks: Organic, Vegan Hot Cacao, Born in the PNW

Tony K

Photos by Wild Human

Fall in the Pacific Northwest is when tourists go home and the rains settle in. IPAs are replaced with stouts and bourbon. Candles light rooms during short days and misty mornings. Thick blankets are draped over couches near roaring fireplaces.

Fall in the upper left coast is hot chocolate season and Retreat Drinks Hot Cacoa should be in your cup this year.

Gig Harbor, Washington based Retreat Drinks makes organic vegan hot cacao powder in two flavors: the original cacao and peppermint, available in single-use packs, four-pack boxes, and seven-ounce jars.

Founder and certified holistic nutritionist, Anne Farrens, started the company in 2019 because she wanted a healthy and tasty drink that she could take on the road while traveling for work.

“My corporate job, pre-covid, required two to three weeks of travel per month. I have a passion for clean and simple living, clean ingredients. I wasn’t counting calories but I want pure, wholesome real products going into my body. Traveling made that difficult.”

Retreat Drinks delivers a complex flavor profile that destroys the big tubs of Swiss sugar concoction that might come to mind when you think of hot chocolate. It’s bitter with plenty of sweet balance from the maple and coconut. The peppermint variety is pleasantly light on the mint and is a satisfying companion for morning coffee.

Calling this drink hot chocolate feels like an understatement. But, Hot Cacao is fitting for a drink that combines high-quality ingredients, a healthy approach, and chocolatey goodness.

“Cacao is unprocessed chocolate. It's the purest form of the cacao plant that you can find. The powder is made when the moisture (cacao butter) is cold pressed from the cacao nibs. What’s left gets dried and ground into a powder. But since there is no heat applied in the drying process, like there is in conventional cocoa powders, it retains all of the nutrients of the plant.”

The future of this Puget Sound brand is retail, and that train is already barreling towards a store near you. Washington’s Harbor Greens, a small chain of high-quality markets, recently started carrying Retreat Drinks in their stores. But the story of the company began with the support of their local community.

“Our support really started here in Gig Harbor, when we launched at the downtown Waterfront Farmers Market last summer. When The Harbor General Store took a chance on us and featured us in their cafe, it was a huge turning point. Our plan was to continue to expand to other farmers markets this year and introduce our products to surrounding communities, however, Covid threw a wrench in that plan. So we really began focusing our efforts on our retail packaging.”

There are plenty of hot chocolates that are packed with sugar and ingredients you’ve never heard of. Anne Farrens wanted to create something that tastes great and that she feels good about giving to her family. The delightful result is Retreat Drinks.

“I really do live our motto. I want to drink it anytime, anywhere, and I do! I love it around a campfire in the morning mixed with coffee. Sometimes I add cayenne pepper to make it a little spicy. I drink it every day.”

Why Wild Human Supports Retreat Drinks

Small businesses have taken a major hit since Covid-19 landed and communities across America have rallied around their favorite brands. Wild Human’s team is split between Gig Harbor and Portland, and Retreat Drinks is one of our hometown success stories. The drink is delicious, but Anne is also committed to responsibly sourcing high-quality ingredients and packaging made from recycled materials.  Higher quality often comes at a higher price. In our challenging economic environments, spending more is a risk, but Anne is banking on the quality of her products and her vision. We think that deserves our support.

Check out Retreat Drinks


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