We only work with cocoa bean suppliers who support sustainable, environmental and fair trade practices. We believe that the most flavoursome cocoa beans are the ones grown with passion and care.
Below are the producers we choose to work with:
KOKOA KAMILI, TANZANIA
Situated in the village of Mbingu ("heaven" in Swahili) in the heart of the Kilombero Valley in Tanzania, Kokoa Kamili is a bit of a revolution in the world of specialty cacao and artisan chocolate makers. Until recently, African-grown cacao has suffered from a fairly negative reputation, owing to the poor quality of the cacao, unethical practices and general poverty amongst farmers.
In the early 2010's Kokoa Kamili set out to change this vicious circle. Genetic testing showed that their local cacao beans had great potential, with presence of ancient criollo, neo-nacional, and a backbone of amelonado varieties. Kokoa kamili provided free seedlings to farmers, agronomic support and training, and obtained organic certification to preserve this heritage. On top of that, they sat down with the farmers to work out a model where farmers receive 24% more income for their wet beans than the market rate for dried-fermented beans, also providing the logistics to pick up the beans. This means farmers not only make more money but also save time to concentrate on their plantation or private life. Kokoa Kamili takes care of the fermentation and drying, which they control precisely and scientifically.
The variety of the cacao beans is what is called acriollado, which is a natural hybrid of criollo and amelonado. Genetic testing also revealed the presence of neo-nacional markers. The flavour is full bodied, fruity (berries, red fruits) and chocolatey, and - depending on the harvest season and roast - aromas of black tea or brownie batter.
Visit their website: http://www.kokoakamili.com
OKO CARIBE, DOMINICAN REPUBLICLocated in the Duarte Province in the Dominican Republic, Oko Caribe sources cocoa beans locally from 180 families of small holder farmers.
The relationship goes beyond a simple supplier-buyer model: farmers earn 32% more for their cocoa beans than the market rate, receive free training on agronomic practices, organic certification and microfinancing for cacao-related expenses as well as personal loans for family emergencies and community needs. We particularly like the pristine condition of the cocoa beans, showing exceptional fermentation and preparation. The fermentary is also managed by Oko Caribe, and has received world wide praises for the quality of their work, inspiring a new generation of specialty cacao bean suppliers.
The variety of the cacao beans is called Hispaniola (or fermented Sanchez), a flavoursome and balanced trinitario with presence of nacional and other rare varieties like contamana and iquitos. The cacao beans are rich in cocoa butter, full of red/ripe fruit flavour but low in acidity, astringency and bitterness, allowing for a mild roast with plenty of flavour.
Visit their website: https://oko-caribe.com/
FINCA LA RIOJA, MEXICO
The El Vado Microlot was born of an initiative to bring back ancient Mexican Criollo cacao varieties while empowering indigenous forest-based population near Tuzantán (part of the historical cacao region of Soconusco).
It consists of 14 farmers who produce cacao beans, creating a sustainable activity for their families, where organic practices and modern views on agro-biodiversity are the central pillars. The varieties of these cocoa beans are Ancient Mexican including Criollo types (Regalo De Dios, Arcoiris, Rojo Samuel) with flavours of roasted figs, brownie batter, brown bread and molasses— depending on the level of fermentation.
ST. VINCENT COCOA COMPANY, SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a small Caribbean island in the southeastern tip of the West Indies, is home to the St. Vincent Cocoa Company (SVCC). SVCC have quickly established themselves as a leader in the specialty cocoa market, opting for quality over quantity when it comes to their cocoa production.
As the island’s only cocoa bean supplier, SVCC are dedicated to creating an inclusive and sustainable relationship with their local farmers by providing seedlings, expertise, support and free training as well as financial security in the form of guaranteed off-take contracts for their cocoa as well as financial aid for pruning and fertilizing with interest-free loans. In addition, SVCC ensure that they only grow the best quality, high-yielding, fine-flavoured cocoa varieties using sustainable agricultural principles in an agroforestry system. The varieties of cocoa beans produced are Acriollado and Iquitos, with flavour notes of raspberry, strawberry and a chocolate maltiness.
Visit their website: https://www.svgcocoa.com/