top of page

About Apprenticeship

Come immerse yourself in the most biologically intense area on Earth. Get specialized training and work alongside cacao farmers, processors and chocolate makers during a 3-month apprenticeship with non-profit CocoaEthika on the Osa Peninsula.  You will learn the entire cacao post-harvest to chocolate-making process... from tree to bar.  By the end of your stay, you will become part cacao bean hunter, fermenter, roaster, chocolatier, chocolate sommelier, and chocolate entrepreneur.  You will learn how to create an ethical quality cacao bean supply chain and how to start and run a bean-to-bar or tree-to-bar chocolate business or better the one you already own.  After successfully completing your apprenticeship you will be awarded a certificate and will be able to confidently apply for positions within the cacao and gourmet chocolate industry. 

For More Details or Questions Please message via Whatsapp at +50687791746

Pricing: minimum of $1,500 up to $4,500 depending on the length of stay of 1-3 months


October/November 2021 Arrival

Dates are flexible.  Apprenticeships opens generally in October as harvest begins for 3 months and can start as late as in November depending on your area of focus.  In October and November, the areas emphasized will be our post-harvest process but there will still be time for laboratory (chocolate) work during these months. Harvest ends in early December with bean to bar work (making chocolate) then becoming our main focus. 

We will coordinate with you your arrival time and date to Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica.  If flying in from out of the country to San Jose (SJO) international airport, then rent a car and drive or catch an early bus from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez, you also have the option to Fly from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez but keep in mind that flights are less frequent during this time of year.  We will meet you as you arrive to Puerto Jimenez with a welcome dinner and introduce you to the team.  

We have 8 total spaces for apprenticeships available at a time.  You will be committed to a minimum of 30 work hours per week where you will work alongside the general manager of CocoaEthika and learn each step of the business, how to create an ethical cacao bean supply by involving the farmers.  You will master a foundation for everything about the post-harvest process and how to make gourmet chocolate. Everything from farmer relations, business organizational behavior, how to start a non-profit association in order to seed an ethical cacao bean supply chain, and more. These positions are ideal for someone who desires to start a bean to bar or tree to bar chocolate business or someone who owns a cacao farm but struggles with fermentation quality or someone who already has a chocolate business yet is struggling to find a solid quality cacao bean supplier or who may need guidance with any step of the chocolate-making process including writing a business plan, work with private investment or crowd-funding, applying for grants or donations, ingredient supply, tempering, packaging, sales etcetera. The apprenticeships are generally for 3 or 6 months and start each year in September, October or early November to sync with the harvest. 

In your downtime, you can do a variety of activities offered on the Osa Peninsula like visiting Corcovado National Park Tour, waterfall hikes, surfing or surf lessons, or just explore and experience the Osa and Costa Rica however you choose to during your free time. 

The following foundational themes and topics should be learned by the end of your apprenticeship:

 Cacao Bean Judging, Tasting, Roasting, Economics of the Supply Chain & Global Understanding Cacao to Chocolate industry, Cut Test & General Judging of Cacao Beans, Chocolate Tasting, Winnowing Husk Collection and Uses, Farmer Appreciation, Harvest and Gathering & Opening of Pods, Fermentation Basics, Fermentation Theory & Practice, How to construct proper fermentation embodiments, temperature data collection processes (and other sensory data collection and data entry, retrieval importance and usage), frequency of aeration. Signs of over and under fermentation and ideal targets for flavor range targets. Ending ferments & transfer to drying Stage washing, transportation embodiments to the solar dryer, how to properly build a solar dryer and tables, drying time frame importance and avoiding off-flavors as a result of poor post-fermentation handling. Chocolate Laboratory Basics, what is the needed equipment and at the proper scale for ambitions and where to buy and how to maintain it.  Pre-grinding Cacao and filling of melangers and maintenance principles, unloading melanger, tempering, molding, and packaging.  Collection and storage of cacao juice & different uses (caramel, ice cream, beverage, fruit leather). Cacao butter pressing & Uses of cacao butter & powder processing. Process cacao into butter and powder. Principles of drying cacao beans and climatization steps before curing and packaging.  Long-term cacao bean storage as it pertains to ingredients and ongoing flavor management. Identifying off-flavors & right and wrongs of bacterias/molds and how to identify problems through sensory data and actions.

bottom of page