This cacao is grown in the province of Esmeraldas, an area not typically known as a cacao producing region of Ecuador. Costa Esmeraldas is a family business, entirely owned and managed by the Salazar family. This single estate farm was established on reclaimed cattle pasture and is currently planted with approximately 100 hectares of 5-year old Nacional hybrid cacao (clones EET-95, EET-96, and EET-103). The farm is currently expanding, and will include 10 hectares of a traditional Esmeraldas cacao varietal that was cultivated in isolation for over 100 years from the typical Nacional cacao grown in the rest of the country. The original farms planted with this cacao are currently being cut down and replaced with oil palm and CCN-51. The farm is located less than 10 miles inland of the coastal town of Muisne. A brand new, high efficiency fermentation and drying facility was designed by Cacao Services and constructed in a dry microclimate about 15 miles from the farm near the town of Tonchigue. The facility design allows production of unusually consistent and clean cacao with an efficient movement of material that reduces worker injury and fatigue.
About Los Angeles LetterPress Craft Chocolate:
Founded in 2014, LetterPress Chocolate is a small batch bean to bar chocolate company which features single-origin, and in many cases single-project cacao from around the world. Their goal is to forge direct relationships with farmers and co-ops who feature truly exceptional cacao, to pay a premium and help raise the quality of life.
They love chocolate. But they don’t love how most chocolate tastes the same – artificial, full of sugar and vanillin. Letterpress wants you to experience the subtle differences in each region they work with, like coffee or wine. To that end, they source and roast cacao beans that are truly exceptional – not only in flavor, but featuring a truly ethical, sustainable supply chain. They travel to meet farmers in person at the source – Peru, Guatemala, Belize, Dominican Republic, and beyond. They’re always looking for new ways to help farmers and small co-ops out, and with them, you can help too! Letterpress pays a premium to the farmers to encourage them to keep growing fantastic, lower-yielding and delicate cacao, rather than tearing out and planting bulk over-productive commodity cacao or other crops. Cacao is the future. And LetterPress will help build it. They’ve begun the process of selecting farms they truly believe in – not just buying cacao, but actually investing with them and taking an active role in cultivation. Sending equipment and expertise on site, our goal is to make the best chocolate in the world, in a fully sustainable and transparent way.