Each recipe we develop starts on the farm, sourcing the finest cacao beans directly from farmer cooperatives. We work together to develop flavor profiles suited to each unique single origin, highlighting the terroir of each place.
We strive to tantalize the world with the ultimate expression of Ecuadorian Nacional Cacao, an heirloom variety unique to Ecuador. We do so with incredible single origin, heirloom, raw chocolate couvertures distinguished by intensely floral aromas, red wine & fresh cacao pulp notes.
Explore the origins of our chocolate and how the terroir of each region impacts flavor. Ecuador is a unique country due to its multitude of microclimates. While only the size of Colorado, the country includes the Andes mountains, the rainforest of the Amazon River basin, and the descent from the mountains down to the coastal climate.
Chocolate Making Process
All chocolate starts on the farm, where cacao trees produce pods filled with cacao beans and a tropical flavored pulp. Our chocolate is made from a unique heirloom variety of cacao, called Arriba Nacional, which is unique to Ecuador.
After harvest, the cacao beans are fermented, which helps to develop their flavor. The fermentation process for our chocolate is carried out in wooden boxes, with careful attention paid to maintaining the correct temperature for the best possible ferment. Then they’re dried on raised tables that allow for airflow, under canopies to protect them, compared to lower quality cacao that is often dried directly on the ground. These steps happen right at each cooperative. Our close working relationship means we’re able to work together with our farmers to ensure the best processing for our cacao.
Once the cacao beans arrive at our factory in Quito, we carefully inspect them using a cutting test to ensure they have been fermented and dried appropriately. They are then roasted and winnowed to create cacao nibs. We utilize four different roasting processes, depending on the flavor goal for the final product, to develop the unique flavors found in each of our chocolates.
The beans are slowly ground into a smooth, liquid substance commonly referred to as cocoa liquor. The conching process then develops flavors and changes the texture using controlled temperatures. It’s the last and most important refining process, which allows the flavors of each ingredient to combine and aerates the chocolate, expelling volatile acids.
Our final step is to temper the chocolate by heating, cooling & reheating. This process gives the final chocolate a delicate composition, a uniform structure and a well-rounded flavor.
Each of our chocolates is roasted in one of four unique styles, with the roast style playing an active role in determining the end flavor of the chocolate. Each chocolate we produce exhibits a unique flavor carefully created by balancing terroir, roast style and cacao percentage.
Our virgin roast is a highly unique process which flash roasts the beans at a low temperature, leaving them as minimally roasted as is possible. This light roasting process maintains the natural flavors of the cacao in a way no other roast does. We use this roast process on our Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund designated cacao from the APOVINCES cooperative in the Los Rios province of Ecuador. This cacao has exquisite notes of red wine, wood and florals. The minimal roasting process maintains those fresh and fine floral aromas while bringing out notes of citrus.
Our light roast uses a higher temperature that is more typical of European cacao roasting techniques, but maintains those fine and seductive floral aromas by keeping the roast light. This roast produces bright fruity flavors alongside caramel nuances that compliment each other to create a perfectly balanced chocolate.
This line offers an experience more aligned with the European tradition of chocolate making. A medium roast brings our exotic and woody red fruits, reminiscent of balanced red wine. While offering those more full-bodied flavors, this roast still maintains the elegant and tempting florals of our heirloom Nacional cacao.
Cacao roasted using our dark roast process brings out more robust flavors in the chocolate created, such as almond and a bouquet of berries. These chocolates are reminiscent of barrel wines, with full-bodied flavor. This line also offers an experience more aligned with the European tradition of chocolate making.