In the world of chocolate, the word ‘Arriba’ is synonymous with high quality fine aroma cacao and only 5% of cacao produced in the world is given the prestigious label of Fine Aroma. Having witnessed firsthand the level of care provided by farmers during the harvest, fermentation and drying processes of Arriba cacao, it’s clear this specialist approach to handling along with the ideal hot and humid environment needed for growing cacao means Ecuador is one of the cacao industries primary producers of one of the best cacaos in the world.
The flavour profile of cocoa beans changes with soil and the climate. Much like the grapes that go into making wine, Arriba beans at one elevation will have a different flavour to the same type of beans grown elsewhere in the country. With more than eight different growing regions from the farms in the Amazon Jungle, to the vast stretches of coastline and the foothills of the Andes, Ecuador offers a variety of fine cacao flavours that would excite any chocolate connoisseur. The dark chocolate flavours vary from fruity and floral to earthy with hints of rum and tobacco.
During our visit, we met with a number of cooperatives who work with small farms, helping them improve farming practices, encouraging experiments in fermentation processes and improving yield. We are happy to work with those cooperatives and contribute to positive impact of cacao farming.
With over 100 years of history cultivating cacao, The Dominican Republic develops the famous Trinitarian cacao Beans, what are considered to be the highest quality organic cacao plants in Central America. Due to favourable climatic conditions, abundant water supply and rich soils, the tradition of cacao farming has developed to become a huge industry. This immeasurable experience in farming and handling coupled with The Dominican Republic’s ideal climate yields top quality organic produce.
We are proud to partner with a supplier that echoes our sustainability ethos, cooperating with farmers who cultivate cacao organically, meaning no synthetic fertilisers or pesticides are used in the farming processes. Alongside their work with small farms in the Dominican Republic they are attempting to expand the positive social impact of organic cacao farming by sponsoring the development of an additional 2000 ha. cocoa plantations in alliance with small farmer associations of other regions in central and South America such as the Magdalena, Cesar and Guajira provinces in northern Colombia.
The incredible depth and diversity in the flavours of cacao from West Africa is a result of the hot African weather, sunny days and rich and damp soil.
Interestingly cacao is not native to the African continent. It was brought home by Tetteh Quarshie from a Spanish colony in 1879. Owing to the extreme suitability of both soil and climate, the cocoa- growing tradition began. Ghana began to export cocoa in 1891, and is now one of the world’s leading exporters. The Ghana Cocoa Board set up by the government in 1947 to oversee the development of the growing industry, means Ghana is now well known for its excellent quality and consistency.
The Ivory Coast and Ghana together cultivate more than half of the world´s cocoa. Ninety percent of the farmers in this region rely on cocoa as their primary income. We partner with the companies that have a commitment to the programs that are vital to improving the livelihoods of farmers and their communities, programs that encourage education and support women in cacao farming.