Everything you need to know about Jens Knoop, founder of Knoops in Brighton
My name is Jens Knoop, I’m 51 and moved to the UK from Germany in the 90s to study photography in Bournemouth. I then spent several years living in central London and traveling the world filming opinion polls. Wanting a change from London life and international travel, I moved to East Sussex and decided to start my own business. I decided to pursue my passion for chocolate – and that’s how Knoops was born.
Tell us about your business
It’s called Knoops and I opened my first store in Rye, then expanded to London with stores in Kensington, Chelsea, Clapham Junction and Richmond.
Brighton was a natural next step, as a bustling tourist destination with its highly engaged food scene. Finally, we opened a store in Oxford this month. Knoops is still expanding and we are exploring options for our next store. We also have an online store where we sell our products to enjoy at home.
What is the concept behind your business?
The Knoops philosophy is simple. We focus on quality, sustainable chocolate drinks that offer the widest range of choice compared to anywhere else on the high street. We are here to allow visitors to indulge their love of chocolate.
The Knoops in-store experience is truly unique. We have a process that I called Knoopology. It’s the ultimate personalization process – a four-step method where individuals choose their favorite hot or cold drink followed by their chocolate percentage (we have over 20). They then choose their dairy or plant-based alternative before finally adding tasty additions to their chocolate. We pour it as a creamy hot chocolate, or over cold milk and ice for an iced chocolate. It can even be mixed with ice cream for a delicious milkshake.
The Knoops online store sells the ingredients, appliances and recipe book to allow customers to get creative and experience the joy of creating delicious chocolate drinks at home. This allows them to become a real Knoopologist.
Are consumers increasingly demanding with chocolate?
Consumers are increasingly interested in chocolate, its provenance and the distinctive characteristics of different single-origin chocolates. There is such variation in sweetness and flavor notes in our range of over 20 chocolates, that there is something for everyone. It really feels like we’re creating a new category, much like coffee 30 years ago, given the interest we’ve seen in our stores and our unique offering.
Is sustainability important to you?
We source our ingredients from a wide range of suppliers, some large, some small. Responsibility and sustainability are embedded in our DNA. Knoops uses as many recycled, recyclable and compostable materials as possible in everything from chocolate flakes to take-out cups and even store design. We only source fully traceable chocolate that positively affects the communities where it is produced and we have partnered with a select group of chocolate makers who are genuinely committed to improving the sustainability of their cocoa, because we know the industry does not is not perfect and still has to go.
You include lots of herbs and spices. How do you balance the flavors?
We mainly recommend our blends – 34% milk chocolate, 54% dark and 70% extra dark – as the best options to provide additional flavor of herbs, spices or fruits. Our unique origins have distinctive characters, like our 43% butterscotch and hazelnut, that are often best left unaltered with any flavor other than a pinch of sea salt, which helps accentuate the notes. of caramel.
What are your plans for the future?
We have big plans for the future. We look forward to the summer season in Brighton and welcome tourists to the area. In Oxford, we are having great success with the new store. We also have big ambitions to open around ten new stores by the end of 2023 and expand our online store with delicious new products and gift options. It’s an exciting time for Knoops.
Do you have anything else to share?
I never thought I would have the opportunity to write a book. It has always been one of my dreams. My cookbook, Knoops – All-Day Chocolate Recipes, features 40 drinks and 20 dishes, all created using Knoops chocolate flakes and ingredients found in most kitchen cupboards.
With sweet and savory recipes from breakfast to lunch, dinner and dessert, the book gives readers the opportunity to savor new flavor combinations and experience even more Knoopology at home.
l Knoops is in Market Street, Brighton