Local businesses team up to create chocolate treat for a cause

SHAKA•LIT proceeds benefit Surfgimp Foundation
March 31, 2021

Swell Joe Coffee Co. announced the launch of a new artisanal chocolate/coffee bar that combines the team’s passion for local collaborations with their desire to support Surfgimp Foundation via proceeds from each bar sold.

SHAKA•LIT is handcrafted by Delaware Chocolate Company and features dark-milk chocolate with a crunch of cacao nib, coffee crumb and sea salt.

“Chocolate, coffee, and sea salt are each incredible tastes on their own,” said Swell Joe’s Karen Johnson. “And when combined, they create layers of flavors that work really well together.” Johnson, who admittedly snacks on dark chocolate chased with black coffee, has been brewing up this idea for over a year. “We just needed to find the right, local chocolatier as our partner.”

Enter Bridget Brown, founder of Delaware Chocolate Company in Fenwick Island. Brown launched her bean-to-bar chocolate company last December with a focus on artisanal, fair trade and vegan products. After being introduced by a mutual friend, Brown and Johnson dove in together and quickly landed on a flavor profile for Swell Joe’s new chocolate bar which includes local sea salt. Johnson connected with Dave Burris, founder of Henlopen Sea Salt, who was already familiar with Swell Joe Coffee through Surf Bagel and eager to have his mineral-rich sea salt sprinkled into Swell Joe’s SHAKA•LIT.

"Our handcrafted local sea salt is the ultimate flavor enhancer," said Burris. "And when Delaware Chocolate and Swell Joe coffee are the flavors, the result is absolutely outstanding. We're thrilled to be a part of this unique collaboration and to support the important work of Surfgimp Foundation.”

Brown, who is committed to crafting all her chocolate products with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, is simultaneously working on her own signature chocolate bars. “It’s been a whirlwind few months launching a new small business, and I’m thrilled to partner with Swell Joe Coffee as my first toe-dipping into the local collaboration scene,” Brown said.“And it’s funny, but I can’t say SHAKA•LIT without smiling.”

Johnson is quick to agree. “I was a chocolate fan well before I could say the word. So, my youthful pronunciation of chocolate was much closer to our bar’s name,” said Johnson.

The shaka sign conveys a laid-back, welcoming vibe and is an integral part of Swell Joe’s team culture and surf-centric branding. Johnson said, “We don’t have a conference room table – our team meetings happen around the roaster, a bonfire, or during surf sessions and beach walks.” The beach is where the team discussed the idea to donate a portion of SHAKA•LIT bar proceeds to Surfgimp Foundation, an organization that supports individuals with disabilities who require assistance to bring their dreams of adventure to life through desired physical activities.

Johnson reached out to Rehoboth native and Surfgrimp Foundation board member Suzannah Frederick, who was grateful to be considered. “We are very honored to be able to help people with disabilities achieve their dreams and grateful to be part of this collaboration between local businesses,” said Frederick. Since the foundation’s inception in 2017, it has awarded more than 50 grants to individuals of all ages, helping to break down barriers and expand their ability to travel, bicycle, ski, enjoy the healing beach and ocean, surf for pleasure or competition, and try new physical activities. Through SHAKA•LIT sales, the Swell Joe team is hoping to create more local awareness for Surfgimp Foundation.

Swell Joe’s SHAKA•LIT wrapper was designed by Fishtail Printing in Rehoboth and printed by CopyRight in Milton. The bar is available for purchase at the Brush Factory on Kings, Quiet Storm Surf Shop in Rehoboth, the Backyard Milton and online at A portion of proceeds from every bar of SHAKA•LIT is being donated to Surfgimp Foundation.

Swell Joe Coffee, founded in 2014 by Dave and Sharon Vitella and Drew and Karen Johnson, is a small-batch wholesale coffee roastery that provides freshly roasted beans to over 25 restaurants, grocers, and specialty shops throughout coastal Delaware.

Delaware Chocolate Co. is an online shop and growing chocolate emporium that debuted in December 2020 as an artisanal, fair trade, vegan, custom-made chocolate company.

Henlopen Sea Salt features the finest hand-harvested sea salt from Delaware’s Atlantic Coast. Every product, including all blends, starts with 100 percent Delaware sea salt.

Surfgimp Foundation’s mission is to support, through financial grants, individuals with disabilities who require assistance to participate in desired physical activities.


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