Our Cacao

Blissful Blends VISUAL

We are proud of the organic cacao we source. CHOC Chick is one of the only businesses in the UK to import directly from cooperatives in Ecuador. Our CHOC Founder, Galia Orme, has visited cooperatives and cocoa plantations to source the finest sustainable, single origin cacao used in all CHOC Chick ingredients and product.

We chose the delicious, single origin Nacional Arriba Fino de Aroma bean, that is renowned for its floral and fruity notes and has existed in Ecuador since Inca, Aztec and Mayan times. It’s the national bean of Ecuador and by only sourcing Nacional cacao, we are contributing to the continued existence and sustainability of this noble cocoa bean.

Our Cacao - Galia in Ecuador
Galia, Carlos & Isabel - CHOC Chick

We work with cooperatives of family farms that have grown cacao for generations.  Our cacao farmers are masters in the growing, fermentation and drying of the cocoa bean to ensure the quality, taste and safety of CHOC Chick cacao. Our beans are minimally processed to retain the natural goodness and all batches undergo microbiological testing to ensure they are completely free of harmful bacteria.

We are also incredibly proud of the complete traceability of production of our cacao and are able to trace each batch from the plantation to fermentation, drying and production.

We love our cacao and hope you enjoy and love CHOC Chick cacao ingredients as much as we do!

Where does cacao come from?

CHOC Chick - cacao flower

It all starts with a beautiful small flower on the bark of the cocoa tree.

CHOC Chick - cacao bud

The flower grows and blossoms into a bud that over 3 months becomes a cocoa pod full of cacao seeds of pulp (each pod has around 50 seeds).

3_cacao_pod
CHOC Chick - cacao pods
CHOC Chick - cacao pods

Once ripe, the cacao pod is picked, cut open and the seeds are removed. The shells are left to ferment the soil and other crops. Most of the plantations we source from grow a range of crops, from coffee, bananas, oranges to cacao and the shells and outer skins of all the crops are left to ferment the soil, adding to the unique flavour of the Nacional Arriba bean.

CHOC Chick - cacao pods ready
CHOC Chick - cacao pods close up
CHOC Chick - cacao seeds

The seeds are then taken to the cacao collection centres where they are weighed, qualified and placed in the fermentation boxes. The fermentation process lasts 4 days and each day the fermenting beans are dropped to a lower box until the final box on the 4th day (the smell is intoxicating!).

CHOC Chick - cacao seeds nacional
Cacao seeds ready for fermentation - CHOC Chick
Cacao seeds fermenting - CHOC Chick

Once fermented the beans are laid out to dry in the sun. Each batch is separated by plastic cones with notes placed on them to identify the crop and differentiate the plantations they come from (we much prefer this use of plastic cones!).

Cacao seeds drying - CHOC Chick
Cacao seeds drying and changing colour - CHOC Chick
Cacao beans drying - CHOC Chick

The beans are raked through regularly with wooden rakes and you can tell how well the beans are drying by the sound they make. Our growers are experts at identifying when the beans are ready.

Cacao beans drying - CHOC Chick
What are the Benefits of Cocoa Powder?

The beans are then taken to the production plant where they are flash roasted to remove any bacteria and compressed together to extract the cacao butter. The rest of the cocoa mass is then ground up to a fine powder with nothing else added.

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