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Moksha is the husband and wife team of Jennifer, a world traveler, and Michael Caines, a horticulturalist. Their endeavor into chocolate started in 2013, when Michael, an Australian transplant, grew tired of his foray into IT and longed to return to food and farming. When given the opportunity to visit and purchase a cocoa farm in Peru, Michael knew this was his chance to get his hands dirty again. But there was one problem — the local cocoa farm’s profits were not making their way back to the community. Michael set out to ensure that the farmers were paid more than market value, in order to improve the local economy and to utilize traditional growing practices to yield a high-quality cacao bean.
Inspired by the name of the nearby town — Shanao, meaning “New You” — Michael and Jennifer established the Shanao Cacao Collective: a non-profit co-op based on a new model of growth and commerce known as “regenerative trade.” Regenerative trade allows farmers to be paid directly for their cocoa beans. Not only is the middleman cut out, but Michael and Jennifer are able to pay their co-op members more than the market value of their crop, with farmers currently making 50% over the market value of cacao and rising. As was Michael’s original vision, a portion of sales profits goes directly into continuing to improve farming practices.
In late 2017, the first pilot project of four tons of cacao beans arrived in Boulder Colorado. Michael took to the internet, teaching himself every aspect of fine-chocolate making. From roasting, winnowing and grinding the beans to tempering and molding, he strived to perfect the process. His meticulousness resulted in a deep and uniquely flavored bar, showcasing the single-origin, ethically harvested cacao.
In 2019, motivated to pursue her own journey as a female entrepreneur, Jennifer named their line of bean-to-bar chocolate Moksha. In Sanskrit, Moksha means “liberation from the cycle of life’s struggles” — an apt metaphor for her and Michael’s career and lifestyle changes and a fitting name for her new venture.
Jennifer and Michael’s commitment to create responsibly grown, transparently produced and meticulously crafted chocolate products is at the core of both the Shanao Cacao Collective and Moksha. Their distinctively flavored products are ideal for the socially and environmentally conscious consumer looking for a unique, deliciously sophisticated treat.