27 February 2023

Success Stories: Kay Keusen (Taucherli)

Updated: 28 February 2023

Kay Keusen, owner and ‘Chief Happiness Officer’ of the Swiss chocolate company Taucherli since 2015, has always had a love of artisanal foods such as cheese, wine, and chocolate. And although Keusen started his career in finance, he always had a dream of working with his hands. When he took over Taucherli, this dream came true.

Keusen began his chocolate adventure by producing couverture chocolate. One year later, Taucherli’s bean-to-bar project was introduced. Keusen had a clear goal in mind with the production of bean-to-bar chocolate: to redefine ‘the Swiss chocolatier’. Although Switzerland enjoys an illustrious history and reputation for chocolate production, most ‘Swiss chocolate’ is actually produced abroad.

Both Kay Keusen and the company Taucherli are now well-known names in the ‘craft chocolate scene’, so it is safe to say that Keusen has more than achieved his goal. All the same, Keusen continues to evolve. It is a continuous process that varies from trying out new flavour combinations to maintaining relationships with cocoa farmers around the world.

We (Lareka) first met Keusen at ProSweets Cologne 2018, and from that moment on, the chocolate maker instantly knew that the BTB25 was the perfect machine for him. In late 2020, the first Taucherli chocolate bars were wrapped on the packaging machine that has since given the company a huge boost, according to Keusen himself. As we are equally enamoured with the Swiss chocolate maker, Kay Keusen seemed for us to be the perfect candidate for Success Story #7.

What is Taucherli's signature chocolate bar? And how is it wrapped?

These are the bean-to-bar products, or what we call our ‘Fine Flavors’. My favourite bar from the entire bean-to-bar range is the B9 Betulia (80%), a bar named after the unique Cacao Betulia bean. What makes this chocolate bar so special – besides its exceptionally powerful flavour profile – is that it stems from my long-standing friendship with Christian Velez, owner of Cacao Betulia.

Like all other Taucherli bars, the Betulia B9 (80%) is packaged in paper-laminated foil wrapped in paper envelope packaging. All of the ‘Fine Flavor’ bars are packaged this way, while the ‘Crazy Mixes’ and ‘Tsuri Schoggi’ (both couverture) are packaged in a paper sleeve.


What bar has the most beautiful packaging?

Again, the choice really does fall on the ‘Fine Flavor’ bars. Besides being packaged in beautiful paper envelope wrapping, I love the abstract and colourful designs.

Another packaging I get very excited about – and I’m actually part of the design – is the ‘Strong in Packaging’ bar by Lareka. The design incorporates my bean-to-bar tattoo. Needless to say, it was certainly a nice surprise to be approached for this and to finally hold the packaging in my hands for the first time.

How does Taucherli concern itself with sustainability and sustainable production?

We source all of the ingredients and materials we can locally. Although it is sometimes five times more expensive than the non-local alternatives, we are more than happy to support our environment. We also try to throw away as little as possible, and reuse everything we can.

In terms of our packaging, we still have room for improvement. However, we only want to introduce changes that are truly useful and effective. For example, we wrap our chocolates in biodegradable packaging, but after looking deeper into it, we soon realised that it is only ‘industrially compostable’, and therefore still ends up in the regular waste stream when thrown in the bin.

What changes has the BTB25 brought about within Taucherli?

We were right at the edge of capacity for manual packaging when I met Henk Somers at ProSweets in 2018 and saw the machine at work for the first time. So I was introduced to the BTB25 at exactly the right time and instantly knew that this was the machine I needed. It’s a versatile, compact packaging machine and the ease of use also appealed to me.

Several years later, I can safely say that we have greatly increased our capacity. The BTB25 simply wraps 25 times faster than when it’s done manually. By hand, we used to pack about one bar per minute, now it’s 25.

Inspired by Kay Kausen's story and want to learn more about this Swiss bean-to-bar maker?

Visit www.https://taucherli.com/ or have a look on social media.