There are only 5 spots left on our next origin adventure to Colombia, January 20th-27th, 2019. Want to discover a chocolate factory in the white city of Popayan? Take a boat ride to the Arhuacos territory and meet El Mamo Camilo, their spiritual leader? Visit cacao farmers along the border of Ecuador and Colombia in the Tumaco region and end the day on a tropical beach watching the sunset? Email email@example.com to reserve your spot on our next epic trip!
The commodity market treats all cacao as equal, regardless of origin, quality, or volume. This is a problem. We think the answer is clear: decommoditize. We reimagine what prices could look like when the market truly values factors like quality, flavor, and costs of production and treat cocoa as a uniquely valuable product in its own right. When we seek stability and partnership for cacao producers and chocolate makers, a new cacao economy becomes possible. We’re learning as we go and invite you to join us by working with our cacao and the amazing farmers who produce our beans.
Passion, grit, and courage are at the core of Uncommon Cacao's business. Each month, we celebrate one of our own, as they exemplify these values in the incredible work they do breaking boundaries and transforming the cacao industry around the world! This month, we're excited to spotlight our very own Sales Director, Anjuli Dharna Whether hugging cacao trees, talking shop with makers, or meeting famers, Anjuli lives and breathes chocolate and leans into everything cocoa-related with a solid "hell yes!".
We're lucky to have you on our team!
We take supporting our customers' growth seriously. Without our dedicated chocolate makers and growing the craft chocolate market, we would not be able to drive and scale our mission of improving farmer livelihoods. So, we wanted to feature @cococaravan today as they reach their kickstarter goal to expand their chocolate studio in the UK! Please support them if you can, and definitely snag a bar of their chocolate at your next opportunity! Link to their campaign here: http://ow.ly/DYt530m4nuE
(Two farmers in the Arhuacos community wearing traditional clothing. Photo courtesy of Cacao de Colombia)
Transparency in our supply chain means that we prioritize meeting cacao producers and learning from our farmers at origin. They are the backbone of the work we do. We are constantly tasting beans from around the globe and talking to new producers to bring you delicious cacao.
This year we brought in a new origin from Cacao de Colombia grown by the Arhuaco, one of four indigenous tribes who protect the stunning wilderness of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Northern Colombia. The Arhuacos tribe have an immense respect for the environment epitomized in their directive to be stewards of the earth. We have learned from the Arhuacos how one can grow cacao and protect the earth in the most challenging and diverse environments. The Arhuacos cacao farms stretch from high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains all the way down to the Caribbean Sea.
Meet El Mamo Camilo
The Mamo is the spiritual leader of the Arhuacos. He is a serene man of few words. We were lucky to spend some time with him when our Director of Global Ops & Sourcing, Stasi Baranoff, interviewed him to learn more about the history of the Arhuacos.
El Mamo recognized that cacao naturally encourages forest growth in the jungle, and El Mamo Camilo's community are the first Arhuaco community to start growing native cacao again after hundreds of years of colonization.
El Mamo remembers a time when the forest was being damaged by marijuana and cocaine farms. He recalled how these farms changed the feel of the land and the people living in the forest. Now that these farms have been replaced with native cacao, he believes the environment and the people are improving again.
He is happy that his community has access to the sea and that the forest is growing back. Cacao is a critical part of this shift – instead of marijuana and cocaine, cacao can grow with the forest instead of damaging it.
To the Arhuacos, everything must exist in balance with nature. They grow delicious cacao with flavor notes of walnut, lavender and white grape through their deep respect of local flora and their ecosystem.
(The Arhuacos “Kankuras” are considered temples)
El Mamo Camilo doesn't typically meet with strangers - it's very special that he was willing to meet with Carlos from Cacao de Colombia and Stasi from the Uncommon Cacao team. It confirms his trust in our partnership as we bring this cacao to our dedicated chocolate makers.
At Maya Mountain Cacao & Cacao Verapaz, our origin operations, our teams work tirelessly to bridge geographic, economic and cultural gaps by connecting rural farmers with an international craft chocolate market. Both Maya Mountain and Cacao Verapaz are constantly pushing boundaries to find new cacao sources, improve quality control and export more ultra premium and delicious cacao.
We are proud and honored to announce that between both Maya Mountain Cacao and Cacao Verapaz, in partnership with many hard-working chocolate makers listed below, collectively won 25 awards at the 2018 International Chocolate Awards.
Shout out to these makers for their incredible chocolate making skillz and creative new flavor combinations with these wonderful beans:
-Dick Taylor (Maya Mountain)
-Dandelion (Maya Mountain Belize 2015 & 2016)
-Boho Chocolate (Maya Mountain)
-Cultura Craft Chocolate (Maya Mountain)
-Cacao 70 (Chivite)
-Goodnow Farms (Chivite)
-Kakau Worship (Chivite)
-French Broad (Lachuá)
-Mayer Schokoladen(Lachuá & Maya Mountain Cacao)
-Coco Caravan (Lachuá)
-Fresh Coast Chocolate Co (Maya Mountain)