How should I store my cacao?
Cooler is always better for storage of cacao beans! This prevents flavor degradation, and mold growth. It also keeps insects from maturing and damaging the cacao. Airtight or vacuum sealed bags or boxes are advisable to keep beans dry. Unroasted cacao beans will last for up to nine months in polythene-lined burlap bags when stored in a cool, dry location, such as a pantry with an ambient humidity level of less than 70 percent. When storing your beans, you want to keep them at a pleasant ambient temperature because of their high fat content, which can turn rancid in warm weather. Cacao beans are subject to becoming rancid and over-fermenting when stored in temperatures greater than 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Under excellent storage conditions (refrigerated and air tight), some chocolate makers keep beans for up to 5 years. Cacao tends to absorb the aromas and flavors around it so if possible, storing it separately from other products is ideal.
Do you offer heavy metal or microbial testing?
We don’t regularly test all of our beans for heavy metals because ultimately there are so many factors further in the process and beyond our control that could contribute to increased presence of heavy metals in the final, chocolate product. We do not do microbial testing on our cacao for the same reason. However, we can facilitate testing for both! This service is available via Anresco Laboratories, who does our fat testing. If this is information you need, we would be happy to facilitate those tests.
Is “raw” cacao safe for human consumption?
Cacao is an agricultural product, and a raw ingredient, and is not safe for human consumption before proper treatment. Cacao is harvested, fermented, dried, hand-stored, packaged and transported in non-sterilized environments. While Uncommon Cacao’s supply chain does it’s best to promote basic sanitation practices in post harvest facilities, and in the warehouse, we do not guarantee your cacao will be pathogen free.
Can I have samples?
Yes, we’re glad to offer 1kg complimentary samples of any of our beans. We do ask that you cover the cost of shipping. If you’d like more than 1kg of any particular bean then it’s $11 per kg additionally.
What is the lead time on orders?
If the cacao is already in the US (warehoused in either New Jersey or Oakland), we ask that you leave 10 business days for the order. Once you submit payment, we leave at least 3 business days for the warehouse to prepare the order, palletize and wrap it. Then we ship your order, which normally takes up to 7 business days.
Do you organize shipping on international orders?
At the moment we can organize shipping in the US and Canada. We’d recommend CH Robinson for international orders.
Can you organize shipping for us?
Yes, we’d be glad to organize shipping on your order or provide a quote. We need some information from you first including shipping address; is this a commercial or residential address?; do you have a loading dock or forklift? It’s okay if not! ; would you like to set an appointment? ; if in Canada, please share contact info for your customs broker.
What payment options do you offer?
You’re welcome to pay by check, bank transfer, credit card through the paypal link in your invoice, or via paypal directly.
Can I pre-reserve cacao for the future?
Yes, we are glad to pre-reserve cacao for future orders and require a 15% deposit to do so. We also ask that you cover the cost of storage, which is usually between $4.50-5.50 per sack per month or $40-60 per ton per month. This is the best way to guarantee your supply is there when you need it.
What is your minimum order size?
Our min order size is 2 sacks. If you’d like smaller quantities we’d recommend getting in touch with John at Chocolate Alchemy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you Fair Trade certified?
None of our cacaos are currently Fair Trade certified. While the Fair Trade certification is important in preventing slavery and providing a minimum floor price for bulk cocoa, it makes no guarantees about quality and has not been shown to increase incomes for farmers. Plus, the costs of certification itself often outweigh the benefits of the premium, and there is no farmer income price transparency. Our model is transparent trade which focuses on delivery high quality cacao, and increasing farmer incomes.