Over the past five years, the Mast Brothers, their beards, and their artisanal chocolate has not only ignited a flame amidst hipster crowds in popularizing the “bean-to-bar movement,” but it also has been subject to recent widespread criticism. After a food expert’s in-depth four-page exposé ( on Mast exposed the chocolate makers as fraudulent ponzi schemers who – in their efforts to craft “high-end chocolate” – prized the aesthetic qualities of their chocolate over the quality of the chocolate itself. 

The report – which was later backed by The New York Times (, discusses how the Mast Brothers “faked how they learned to grind their cacao beans, the ingredients in their candy and even their beards,” along with purchasing their chocolate from third-party vendors (and not making it by hand). 

The Mast Brothers returned with a statement along the lines of how “taste was never th[eir] brand. 

Yet, in light of all of this information, the question remains: does it matter? To what extent does a product – particularly in the culinary world – have to taste especially “good” to be considered desirable?