Where we source our cacao

Cacao grows in close proximity to the Equator, so we won’t be growing it in Scotland any time soon! But it is our privilege to work directly with some outstanding producers who reside in sunnier climates. Almost all of the cacao we source is from South and Central America, the origin of the Theobroma Cacao plant. Cacao has been growing wild in South America for much longer than humans have roamed the earth.

It is central to our ethos as environmentally responsible and ethically driven people to ensure that all the ingredients and materials we source are are part of bio-diverse agricultural ecosystems, and that the social impact of our activity is beneficial to those communities involved. All our endeavours must be to reduce unnecessary negative impact on people and the environment and encourage positive sustainable ways of life, fairness, and equality.

The cacao we buy is only grown in an agro-forestry environment; that means it is grown as a companion to other plants and wildlife which will protect and encourage biodiversity. The cacao can be part of regenerative forestry plan, or wild, but it must not the cause of any deforestation, in particular of primary rain-forest.

The farm gate price, that is the amount of literal cash handed over at the farm gate to the family who grow the cacao, is considerably above the NY cocoa price and consistent for the families. Above and beyond paying a good price, we expect our partners to be actively engaged with other effective initiatives to improve quality of life for farming communities. The partners we pay for cacao are typically responsible (amongst other things) for the collection of wet cacao from farms, fermentation and drying of the cacao, then delivery to Europe.

During our visits to origin we have got to know better the farms and individuals who are behind the scenes working to bring us excellent cacao; whilst maintaining the environmental and ethical standards we expect. You can read our travel journals to various origins below.

Chocolate Tree - who we source from

We are currently working with with: Cacao Tales (Piura)| Gaia Cacao (Porcelana)| Original Beans & Agrofloresta (Mexico)| Maranon Cacao (Maranon) | Tradin Organic & Sierra Organic (Peru) | Uncommon Cacao (Belize)

Chocolate Tree - Colombia - Santa Marta 2019

Colombia 2019

In 2019 Ali made a visit to Santa Marta in Northern Colombia to visit Jose of Cacao Hunters and the Arhuaco community in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Chocolate Tree - Belize uncommon cacao

Belize – Maya Mountain Cacao 2018

In 2018 Ali joined Erik Hammar from Kakaw.se to visit Emily Stone of Uncommon Cacao in Punto Gorda Belize! B-Corp Certified Uncommon Cacao are doing exemplary work in Belize, we love their annual Transparency Report, you can find it here!

Mexico – Tabasqueño 2018

With Erik and Emma of Kakaw.se and Anders Prien of Original Beans, Ali visited Hugo Chavez, the owner of Agrofloresta in Tabasqueno. We toured Hugo’s beautiful and bio-diverse demonstration farm and the accompanying post harvest facilities which were all up to a very high standard. The fermentation methods were well documented and consistent. It was …

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Peru – Piura, Chililique 2018

Ali and Friederike took the Chocolate Tree team to visit Luis Mancini of Cacao Tales in Piura, Peru. This was an all round fantastic trip despite some challenges, we managed to make it to Chililique and the surrounding farms. It was so good to have some of the team experience cacao in the field with …

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Chocolate Tree - cacao harvesting in Madagascar

Cacao Sourcing Video

A short film from various cacao sourcing trips… Including Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Madagascar.

Peru - Chililique 2017

Peru – Piura, Chililique 2017

I was the first chocolate maker to visit Chililique but I doubt I will be the last. This trip gave me valuable insights, i was able to glimpse how the land is being managed & what the eco system is like. Non-plantation style farming like they have in Chililique is incredibly positive for the environment, …

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Colombia – Huila, Rivera 2016

In September 2016 Ali made the first trip out to meet with Don Aldemar Guzman, the farmer behind our Colombian Huila origin chocolate…

Chocolate Tree - Peru Marañón 2016

Peru – Marañón II 2016

Friederike, Fortunato & Roslyn In April 2016 we made a return trip to the Marañón Canyon in Northern Peru where Dan Pearson and Brian Horsley established ‘Marañón Chocolate’. This time we took along our 7 year old daughter Roslyn, it was her first trip to South America. We all had an amazing experience that brought …

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Madagascar - Ambanja 2015

Madagascar – Ambanja 2015

Antananarivo Arrived in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar, at 2am. Taxi wound its way through the dark streets to our admittedly posh hotel where we slept until 11am before heading towards the factory of Chocolat Robert. These guys make the non-deodorised cocoa butter we use in all our Madagascar chocolate. It’s a wonderful aromatic butter, adding …

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Chocolate Tree - Juan Carlo

Ecuador – Golden Bean 2014

Searching for the Golden Bean at the centre of the world

Arrived in Quito, Ecuador, yesterday at 10am. By 1pm I was eating Guinea pig at the centre of the world with our Ecuadorian partner…

Fred

Colombia – Manas Viejas 2014

Wild Cacao and eco-tourism in Colombia

An armed woman in camouflage outfit and shades looks me in the eye and asks in a no bullshit way if I am carrying more than $10,000 in cash, I say “no”, she says in a steel voice “Welcome to Colombia”.

Cacao pod

Peru – Marañón 2013

Day 1 Arrived in Lima. It’s big and noisy but not too hot, the people are gentle and friendly, and it’s cheap. Been listening to combi VW style vans packed with locals tooting through till the wee hours of the morning. What I can remember of Spanish has served us well so far. Will spend …

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