Experienced in cacao processing CocoaEthika continues to pioneer new and improved cacao bean fermentation and curing methods to enable the creation of ultra-premium chocolate that honors the wondrous and potentially endless variation of discoverable flavors incubated within the cocoa genome.
CocoaEthika was created in 2012 by Ben Henderson&Blanca Luchaire who since 2010 have been highly interested and devoted to the art of creating superior chocolate flavor through cacao bean fermentation. They created CocoaEthika to turn an obsession into something of more significant public benefit. CocoaEthika brings together a group of revolutionary thinking entrepreneurs, artisans, farmers, and scientists to create a sustainable, high-quality farm to chocolate supply chain. By developing an economic model (The Whole Cacao) that rewards not only excellent cacao genetics but post-harvest quality processing and vertical integration, CocoaEthika is in a position to fill a rising demand for ultra-premium chocolate.
In 2015 CocoaEthika began to operate a handmade cacao processing and chocolate manufacturing business in the small cacao abundant town of La Palma before relocating to the countryside between Puerto Jimenez and Matapalo, small towns on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. Nestled on the edge of Corcovado National Park, this area contains the only protected region of tropical wet forest on the Pacific slopes of Mesoamerica and is described by National Geographic as "the most biologically intense place on Earth." CocoaEthika's unique location has fostered relationships with farmers, processors, transporters, and all levels of the cacao to chocolate life chain. Just as the Champagne region of France has defined itself as synonymous with ultra-premium quality, CocoaEthika is helping to draw a map where chocolate produced from The Osa Peninsula or "Osa" chocolate will be renowned as the "Champagne" of Chocolate.
CocoaEthika aims to continue partnering with multiple producers to collect 100% of their cacao as wet mass at farm gate to control the fermenting and drying processes at their centralized facility. CocoaEthika's cacao bean curing process protects the subtlety of flavors that may come to life during the chocolate-making process. By taking on the risk of the delicate and complicated process of fine flavor cacao bean fermentation, CocoaEthika allows partner producers to focus on managing their farms. As a result, we have increased diversity, yields, and quality while lowering the risk of having farmers cacao rejected as a result of poor fermentation, storage, or transport conditions.
By creating value together with partner producers, CocoaEthika aims to become Costa Rica's preeminent producer for ultra-premium chocolate. With sustainable farming and business practices, farm-level traceability, and detailed information/readings from improved tech smart fermenting methods, CocoaEthika is pioneering a new level of transparency for the premium chocolate industry. By creating this sustainable quality cacao supply chain based on principles of Permaculture by growing alongside cacao other edible plants, hardwoods and textile producing trees like abacá, rather than monoculture CocoaEthika have aimed at pioneering the cacao to chocolate industry revolution of Costa Rica. By vertically integrating stages of production, The Association of CocoaEthika can distribute locally handmade 70%-100% dark chocolate bars and 70%-100% bulk couverture abroad.
Most of the global research happening on cacao tree varieties has a focus on disease resistance and yields. CocoaEthika's unique location within one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth is part of the southern zone where local histories of the Chibcha Indians describe cacao use as ubiquitous. The Chibcha were presumed to have created Costa Rica's greatest indigenous mystery, the creation of perfectly round granite spheres, some only a few centimeters across, others up to two meters and weighing fifteen tons. Inspired by their local history, CocoaEthika has taken "visionary impassioned interestedness" in wild cacao varieties in search of lost, uncommon and unique flavors/genetics. Further economic support is needed for CocoaEthika to resume the gathering of pods, rooted cuttings and graftings from presumably wild, spontaneous and non-cultivated trees while recording their GPS coordinates and processing beans into chocolate for future quality evaluation. The only way to produce trees of uniformly high quality is by vegetative propagation resulting in exact clones of the parent tree. CocoaEthika's segregated co-fermentation processes allow processing specific beans to chocolate; pods harvested from an individual tree or even down to a single pod with no variation in consistency or quality from general mass fermentation lots.
CocoaEthika began propagating a small number of local cacao varieties from the Osa Peninsula from healthy wild and non-cultivated/spontaneous trees that have interesting quality traits. CocoaEthika is seeking further quality genetics to support a partner planting initiative.
CocoaEthika desires to raise the standard of living for partner cacao farmers and prevent deforestation through developing a consistently ultra high-quality commodity that fetches a premium. CocoaEthika aims to do this through continued education on improved farming methods that foster quality and sustainability while continuing to source and provide quality cacao genetics and subsidized, low to no cost organic farming materials and training.
"Do not go where the path may lead, instead go where there is no path and leave a trail..."