It all starts at the farm. Our signature cacao is grown in Hacienda Limon, Los Rios, Ecuador by Samuel and Anna. In 2014, their cacao was designated Heirloom status by the “Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative”. Very few cacao has been awarded this status, only 6 world wide as of this writing.
When the pods are ripe they are harvested. Opening the pod reveals the seeds (beans) surrounded by a sweet fruit membrane. The fruit is scooped out of the pod for fermenting
The fruit ferments for 4- 7 days in covered wooden boxes, becoming very warm to the touch with a strong fruity, organic aroma.
Our farmer does fermentation different than most others. He combines science, craftsmanship and many years of experience to bring out the flavor we all love from these beans.
The beans are then sun dried.
Bagged beans are trucked to the seaport, inspected and reinspected all along the way. A mountain of paper work is required to export and import them into the USA. They are shipped to our port, here in Portland, Oregon.
The beans are stored in our climate controlled area until the next process.
Sorting the beans removes what does not meet our highest standards of quality.
We develop a roast profile to bring out the best flavor in the beans we use. Different beans require variant temperatures and length of roast. A slight change will highlight different flavors.
The beans are broken which helps us separate the nibs (center of the bean) from the husk (outer shell).
Next, the broken beans are screened to separated into 4 different size particles.
The broken beans go into our kinetic energy/reversed air cacao winnower to separate the husk from the nibs. This is a one of a kind winnower, using patent kinetic energy technology from a different industry and applying it here. Thanks Bill, great job! (the patent holder and designer).
The nibs are ground down to about 20 microns.
The molten chocolate is aerated until the right flavor is achieved.
Like wine, our chocolate is aged to round out the depth of flavor.
Precise heating and cooling is used to control the formation of chocolate's proper finished crystal structure. This produces a surface shine with a crisp snap.
The tempered chocolate is then poured into our specially designed molds.
We package the bars by hand. The inner package is cellophane (wood fiber, not plastic,) which is 100% recyclable and compostable.