We use organic fair-trade beans
Working with philanthropic suppliers is very important to us. Direct trade is ideal because it means that the farmers are getting more for their product. Organic means that the farmers are working in a healthier environment and fairly traded is great if it doesn't prove too costly for the farmer.
Dominican Republic OKO Caribe
OKO Caribe has perfected the art of working with smallholder farmers in the San Francisco de Macoris region of the Dominican Republic. Business owners Gualberto and Adriano consistently deliver this high quality cacao, with deep chocolate and red fruit notes.
Tasting notes: leathery winey with a bit of nuttiness
Region: Alta Verapaz
Farmers in this region live in the area around Laguna Lachuá, a pristine lake in the middle of a national park in the Alta Verapaz department. The Lachuá associations are part of a protection program for the national park reserve – the Laguna Lachuá Reserve. Farmers here are Q'eqchi Maya, who grow cardamom and corn, as well as cacao. Many farmers still live entirely off the grid, in areas without electricity or phone signal. Clonal varieties include a mix of trinitarios, upper Amazon forasteros, and amelonados, with some presence of Nacional. With technical and market support from Cacao Verapaz, the cacao from this region has quickly become renowned in the craft chocolate market. In 2017 Cacao Verapaz is deepening the connection with the three Lachuá smallholder farmers associations by hiring full time staff to monitor and control the fermentation and drying process. This is part of a larger effort to maintain and continue to improve quality and consistency in these lots.
We had the joy of travelling through this region in April 2016 and were humbled by the beauty and dedication of this farming community.
Tasting notes: bright fruit flavour with light acidity and a brown fruit finish.
Location: Sambirano Valley, Ambanja District, Madagascar
From the Akesson’s website: In MADAGASCAR, we are certified “Fair for Life” by IMO. The plantation is a single living organism where we try to provide a secure working and social habitat. Food, shelter, health, security, liberty and spiritual activity are what the farm offers.
For example, we converted all our estate to solar energy (GAÏA Alternative Energy) and redistribute half of the electricity to the village nearby where our employees live and supply portable solar panels to the most remote places. We provide land to our employees so they can be self sufficient and grow their own rice for their family. We contribute in building schools and finally, in a country where medical goods are not easily available and where employees easily spend up to half their revenues in medicines, we have organized to collect them in Europe and redistribute them on the plantation. All this is to be added to the best possible retribution and the integration of the whole families to our community.
Tasting notes: red berries, lemon and nuts with a bright acidity.
Peru - Pangoa
We have been sourcing this criollo cacao directly from the Pangoa coop in central Peru since we first opened our doors opened in 2012.
A message from the Pangoa Coop:
160+ cocoa producing members are located around the district capital of Pangoa and in the Ene River valley.
Our members belong to native and colonist communities that produce criollo cocoa, applying best technologies with assistance from our specialized technical staff.
We are also working with native Ashaninka associations in the Ene River valley and with the Central Café y Cacao del Peru organization in Lima, with the objective to improve the productivity of our areas.
As an internal policy, the Cooperative promotes the production of Criollo cocoa, making sure that these aromatic beans aren’t replaced by ‘foreign’ seeds or other varietals such as CCN51.
Annual average production lies around 450 kilograms per hectare. Our strategic plan encompasses the elevation of the average production to 700 kilograms per hectare by 2015.
Tasting notes: This fine cacao bean has a delicate aroma (sometimes of banana when it is roasted) with tastings notes that include black olives, red wine and aged balsamic.