Mastering the process of wild cocoa

Wild cocoa from Brazil - Pará

Cocoa is on the list of species that saved swatches of the Amazon Basin from the woodman's axe, since it was worth its weight in gold at a time when extractive industries were considered the epitome of progress. In those times cocoa cultivation required strict conservation of the natural jungle environment, since the precious fruit could only grow in the shade of tall trees. Methods farming cocoa as a monoculture had not yet been developed, and when they eventually did emerge they were applied in regions other than Amazonia. 

To ensure the development of this native, wild cocoa, a fine balance between art and science is key. It is no exact science. It requires the experience of humans, supported by technology to make the right decisions. 

The transformation of the harvest pods into fine quality dried cocoa beans undergo the following steps.

  • Harvesting. When colour and sound change of the pods, native families know the time has come to carefully handpick the ripe pods per each tree. 
  • Collecting. At the collection points the quality of the ripe pods is confirmed. From here, Almazonia has ownership on the wet cocoa pods and we take them to our central fermentation hub in Abaetetuba. This is done by boat and can take up to 24 hours due to long distances from our central hub.
  • Pod fermentation. The process of flavour creation is starting now that reduces acid levels of the wild cocoa beans.
  • Fermentation. Fermentation continues for another 5 - 6 days as we also do 2 to 3 stirs. And as we ferment, there is a constant eye, both by human and machine, the monitor its progress, so to understand when is the right time to move on.
  • Drying. Another 5 to 7 days of work, depending on the wheather. With constant stirring to ensure an homogenous drying, we have to make sure we do not dry to fast, not too slow. Once moisture levels are between 7 and 7.5% we stop.
  • Storage. Ensuring a stable and cool storage, we let the beans mature for another 8 - 12 weeks. Now the flavour is stabilised and ready to turn into delicious chocolate. 

Wild, native Amazonia cocoa beans, carefully handpicked by native communities in Amazonia. From the collection of the wet pods, to the fermentation and the drying, Almazonia is dedicated to deliver the finest cocoa flavours.

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