What is Cocoa Beantown?
Cocoa Beantown is a chocolate tour and tasting experiences company that provides educational and social event-based programming to the public as well as private and corporate organizations in search of fun and unique activities for their group(s).
Are you doing virtual tasting events?
YES! We are currently taking bookings for private and corporate tasting events, and have a number of interesting and engaging program themes and formats that make a great activity for teambuilders, family gatherings, bachelorette parties, student enrichment, client thank-yous, internship program activities, and more. Public events are in the process of being planned, please connect with us on social media for announcements.
What is a virtual tasting event?
A virtual tasting event is an online chocolate tasting experience that allows folks to partake in a chocolate tasting class from the comfort of their own homes. Attendees are shipped tasting kits and then invited to join a pre-arranged class via teleconferencing software (such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams). The kits include everything you need to follow along a guided chocolate tasting experience, and can be done as a regular “classroom” style format, or our own unique, competitive, blind-tasting format!
Do you provide masks for your in-person events?
In accordance with Massachusetts state regulations and safety precautions regarding COVID-19, all guests are expected to arrive for in-person events wearing their own masks. Tour guides and the staff of businesses visited will likewise be in masks. Masks will not be provided by tour guides but are available for purchase at many local stores throughout the city. Guests who arrive to a tour or in-person event without a mask will be dismissed, and may only be offered a partial refund.
Where is Cocoa Beantown located?
While Boston based, as an experience provider, we do not have our own brick and mortar location. This enables us to partner with different entities to bring our programming to everything from dining halls, shops and storefronts, schools, colleges and universities, libraries, office buildings, banquet rooms, restaurants, distilleries/breweries, senior centers/assisted living facilities, and even private homes. Cocoa Beantown can go anywhere you’d like us to bring the chocolate fun to!
What are the box office hours?
You can purchase tickets online at anytime. If you wish to speak to someone directly about booking tickets, or planning your private chocolate event, you can contact our box office during the following hours: M-F, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where are your tours/classes located?
We currently have three neighborhood tours; Back Bay and the South End in Boston, and a chocolate and history tour of Concord. Public classes are held at a variety of places around Boston and Cambridge, and private events can be booked at a location of your choosing!
Are there restrooms available on tours?
Guests will have limited access to shop and restaurant restrooms on our 2.5+ hour tours. This availability will vary greatly depending on the neighborhood. The tour guide will be able to assist you with more information regarding this on your specific tour.
What are the starting locations for your tours?
We don’t publicize the starting locations of our tours as we don’t want folks to show up to those locations without having purchased a ticket ahead of time, as we are unable to sell tickets at the time of the tours. Rest assured, all registered tour guests will be given highly detailed instructions for finding our meeting locations, as well as public transportation and parking recommendations, at the time they purchase tickets. If you need additional assistance or have questions beyond that, please use our contact form, email us, or call the box office at 617-855-8567.
What is the closet T-stop?
Back Bay tour—Back Bay Station on the orange line or Copley on the green line
South End tour—Worcester Square on the silver line, or Back Bay Station on the orange line
Is there parking?
There are public parking garages located near all of our tour starting points. Be advised that tours do not end at their starting locations, however. Occasionally we are able to work out special deals with these garages in order to obtain discounted parking for our guests. You will be notified in your confirmation email about this availability once you book your tour.
After making your reservation, parking recommendations will be sent to you via email. Street parking is NOT recommended for any of our tours, as tours exceed the maximum two hour limit at Boston city parking meters. This means you would need to leave the tour group in order to feed the meter, or leave before the tour concludes.
City parking officials WILL check for squatters and DO write tickets for violators.
Can I shop on the tour?
Yes! While you may have limited time for shopping based upon the group size and itinerary, our tour partners welcome your business. If you return to visit any of our tour partners in the future, please make sure to tell them that you learned about them through Cocoa Beantown!
Can I bring a camera on the tour?
Please do! Most of our vendors allow photographs in their stores. Your tour guide will be able to inform you of the specifics on your tour. We would love for you to share your best photos with us on our Facebook page or Twitter account, or email it to us so we can share it on our Instagram page, Make sure to tag us or use the hashtag #cocoabeantown!
What is your current season?
Our current tours are held every Saturday, rain or shine, year round. Chocoholics can make it through!
– Back Bay—Saturdays at 10:15 a.m
– South End—Saturdays at 2 p.m
– Concord—Monthly on a Friday at 10:15 a.m. from April through early November
Are tours and events family friendly?
Yes they are! We suggest children 10 and older join us because of the length of the tour, but all are welcome!
Tour guests should be prepared/be able to walk up to a mile for our chocolate tours. Though there will be opportunities to sit at certain stops along the tour, seating is not guaranteed. We do not offer child pricing for tours.
What are the prices?
– Public Chocolate tours—$50 per person
– Private Chocolate tours—$55-75 per person, depending on length, number of tour stops, types of treats, etc.
– Tasting classes—$55-75 per person, depending on length, number of samples, etc.
Please note—we can provide custom quotes for all of our private events as all of our private events are customized to the specific group! This does mean that many factors—size of the group, length of the program, program theme/type, and other factors, can heavily influence the cost in either direction. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us directly to discuss the possibilities!
How long are tours and classes?
Our public tours are approximately 2.5 hours long, and are a little less than a mile in length.
Please note, the tours do start promptly at their appointed time, and will proceed from the appointed meeting place regardless of whether all tour guests have checked-in.
Please arrive 10 – 15 minutes ahead of time at the tour’s appointed starting point to check-in with your tour guide.
For tour guests traveling in from outside of Boston, please allow yourself enough travel time to arrive in the city, find appropriate parking (for those driving), and check-in with your tour guide 10-15 minutes prior to the appointed start time of the tour.
I’d like to purchase a chocolate tour as a gift for someone. What is the best way to do that?
We have two gift-giving options: Gift cards are digital gift cards that can be given in partial or full amounts for tours. When purchasing, the gift buyer will select the amount and designate who will be the recipient, and an email will be sent with a digital gift card code that can be input at the time the recipient books their tour. Our second option is our golden ticket gift certificates that can be given in amounts for 1 or 2 people, and the recipient will be mailed via USPS a golden ticket gift certificate paper that will include a code that the recipient will be able to enter at the time they book their tour.
Do I have to eat everything on the tour, or can I take things home?
We understand that even the most steadfast chocoholics have their limits. In realization of this, we provide all of our tour guests with ziplock bags so that any samples that they simply cannot finish, can be taken home. The same goes for when we have any extra samples!
What are your tour policies?
NON-REFUNDABLE: Once purchased, tickets and gift certificates cannot be refunded or rescheduled. Your space on the tour is guaranteed, and all of the treats for the tour are ordered and prepared ahead of time.
TOUR TAKES PLACE RAIN OR SHINE: This activity runs regardless of the weather conditions. In the rare situation where we are forced to cancel the tour, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule to another date (subject to availability). Please pay attention to weather reports for the Boston area for the day of your tour, and dress appropriately. Tour guides cannot provide rain gear to tour guests. Please note also that this is a walking tour, so comfortable footwear is a must!
TOUR GUIDE GRATUITIES ARE NOT INCLUDED: But they are always greatly appreciated. If you feel that your tour guide has done a good job, she/he would welcome gratuities. Industry standard is 15%-20% of ticket cost.
ALLERGY INFORMATION IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY: For those with nut or other allergies, please be aware that it will be your responsibility to inquire about the presence/traces of nuts or other allergens in all products you sample.
TICKETS ARE ONLY SOLD IN ADVANCE: The tour guide is not able to sell tickets or accept payment for the tickets at the time of the tour. We are not able to sell tickets at the time the tour is taking place because all of the treats enjoyed on the tour are ordered ahead of time out of respect for our partner vendors’ regular clientele.
DAY-OF AND PAST DEADLINE TICKET SALES:
Day-of reservations are never guaranteed, though they might rarely be accommodated by calling our box office. There is a flat $10 “late registration fee” applied to all ticket orders made for day-of tours, regardless of the number of tickets purchased.
Please consider this surcharge as compensation for our staff’s extra efforts to accomodate these last minute changes to tour rosters.
NON-SMOKING: All of our tours are strictly non-smoking events for the entirety of their duration.
How can I buy tickets?
You can purchase tickets online at any time, up to and including the tour deadline cutoffs. If you have any questions or require assistance, please call the Box Office between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday to purchase them over the phone. Tickets for Saturday tours must be purchased by 2 p.m. the day before. Unfortunately, we cannot sell tickets the day of a tour.
What is the tour/class schedule?
Tours are held every weekend, rain or shine!
Saturdays: Back Bay 10:15 a.m., South End 2 p.m., Concord monthly on a Friday at 10:15 a.m. from April through early November
Do you offer private tours?
Yes! We are happy to schedule private tours for groups. Tour options include both standard tours and customized ones, depending on your price point. Ask about special tour and event add-ons!
How do I book a private virtual chocolate tasting class?
Use our handy quote form here on the website, or call our box office number, and we’ll be able to plan a memorable chocolate tasting event for your corporate gathering, dinner party, shower, bachelorette, birthday, cocktail mixer, holiday party, or other event. Any time is a great time for chocolate!
While the tour is outside, may I smoke?
For the comfort and health of all our guests and guides, we maintain a strict no-smoking policy on all of our tours.
Are pets allowed on the tour?
We LOVE dogs, and we usually see lots of them on our South End tour in particular, but since we will be entering food establishments, we must be respectful of their rules, so please leave the puppers at home for this!
Are the tours always the same?
No! We encourage our tour partners to vary their tasting samples. Additionally, tour stops are subject to change without notice in order to keep our tours fresh and new.
We also frequently work with chocolatiers, chocolate makers, and vendors from outside the Greater Boston area, who may sponsor our goodie bags and provide special bonus treats for our guests.
We might even have the opportunity to spontaneously add a surprise stop to a tour if such a situation presents itself. We’re always sharing new chocolate treats and products with our tour guests!
How do I request a charitable donation for my organization’s fundraiser, auction, or other event?
As an extremely small, local business, we try our best to honor as many requests as we can, but the reality is that we get many more requests than we are able to satisfy with the resources we have. If you would like your cause to be considered, please email the box office and be sure to include the following information: items/services requested, date by which items/services would be needed, name of event, number of attendees expected, recognition of donors offered in exchange (ie. social media postings, listing in event programs, signage at event, newsletter mention, etc.) and description of charity/organization and purpose. Please note, requests that do not include this information will not be responded to.
I’m a local business, and I’d like to partner with Cocoa Beantown. How can we make that happen?
Whether it’s becoming a distribution channel for your product samples and marketing materials through our goodie bag sponsorship, featuring you in our newsletter or social media channels, adding you as a stop on one of our tours, or partnering for a special event, we love helping our guests learn and connect more with other local companies and businesses that are doing and making beautiful things in the world. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help each other out!