The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) grows in tropical climates throughout the world. Each tree produces approximately one kilo of cacao, twice a year. Although most cacao is sourced from The Ivory Coast and Ghana, Peru has the highest biodiversity in cocoa in the world, hosting six of its ten varieties.  We source our cacao from a Shanao, Peru.  The two main varieties of cacao that grow in this area are Trinitario and Criollo.

Harvesting & Fermentation
The fruit of the tree is known as the cacao pod, which grows on the trunk and branches. Each pod ripens at a different time, so expertise is needed in choosing the right time to pick the pod. The farmers harvest ripe pods 6-7 months after it flowers. The ripe pods are handpicked and opened with a machete, exposing the sweet white beans. A cacao pod has a rough rind and a sweet pulp (that is later made into juice) surrounding the beans. A typical pod contains 30-40 beans.

After the pods are opened and exposed to oxygen, fermentation begins. Proper fermentation is essential to the flavor of the cacao beans and takes anywhere from 5-7 days. During fermentation the beans are placed in wooden boxes and covered. The beans are mixed and the heat in the chamber gets to between 45-50 degrees Celsius and yeasts, bacteria, and enzymes transform the pulp. After fermentation, the beans have lost about half their weight.

After the beans have undergone fermentation, the beans are dried in the sun for 5-7 days. Drying must be carried out slowly. The beans are spread out in the sun and raked hourly to ensure uniformity. This will continue for the next four to five days until the seed has a moisture content from about 60% to 6%.

Our Chocolate Making Process
Shop Boulder, CO made Chocolate