We sell single-origin Chocolate made from what are considered to be "flavor" beans. The variety we use is known for having the best flavor of all varieties of cacao. These flavor beans are often considered to be an ingredient and mixed in with lower cost beans with a lesser flavor, our chocolate is made with 100% Ecuadorian "flavor" beans.
Cacao originated in the Amazon basin in Ecuador and the cacao tree variety is called Nacional (or criollo) and is considered to be in the top 2% of quality cacao beans. Nacional only grows in Ecuador.
The majority of the cacao in the world are hybrids designed to grow small, easy to harvest, highly productive trees. Unfortunately, flavor was not one of the goals when they created the hybrids. Our cacao is shade grown. The cacao trees grow intermixed with other plants and trees promoting midge population (cacao pollinators) and also maintains habitat for birds and other animals.
We purchase the beans only from select cocoa pods. Choosing only the best condition pods ensures the best flavor chocolate. We then take them to our small farm in Mindo, Ecuador where we ferment and dry the beans. We control the fermentation process that is critical for developing the smoothest, best flavored chocolate. We also make sure that the beans are not exposed to any contaminants.
The price paid per pound is comparable or better than Fair Trade prices although Mindo Chocolate Makers is not fair trade certified. The farm where we get our cocoa beans is owned by an Ecuadorian farmer who is a trained medical doctor who works one day per week as a physician. Crops on the farm are not sprayed with any pesticides and no artificial fertilizers are used, the farm received its organic certification in Ecuador in February, 2010.