Uncommon Cacao Heads to Chocoa!

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Our founder, Emily Stone will be presenting at the Chocoa Conference in Amsterdam on 21 and 22 February. The theme of this years Chocoa conference is "Choconomics and Cocoa Politics", and Emily will be speaking about the importance of Transparent Trade and what it means to act as a responsible intermediary. If you are attending, be sure not to miss it!

Check out the Conference programme here: https://www.chocoa.nl/conference

Check out Chocoa’s bio on emily here:

→ “Emily Stone is the co-founder and CEO of Uncommon Cacao. She has spent the greater part of the last decade deep in the jungles of Central America, creating meaningful market access for thousands of indigenous Maya smallholder farmers through supply chain companies connecting these farmers with premium and craft chocolate makers around the world. Uncommon Cacao, her group of cacao processing, export and sales operations spanning Central America and the U.S., delivers excellent quality cacao through completely transparent business transactions to chocolate makers, while driving meaningful change in cacao growing communities through transparent pricing, targeted technical assistance, and long term partnerships. Emily is the only Ashoka Fellow in the chocolate supply chain so far, and her work has been recognized for impact by Acumen Fund, Agora Partnerships, and Unilever. Emily is a graduate of Georgetown University.” #Chocoa2019

👉 Get your ticket to the Conference here: www.chocoa.nl/conference

Cacao Hunters in the News!


Our sourcing partner Cacao Hunters in Colombia, featured in the Japan Times.

“Colombia has suffered from ongoing conflict for many years. Warring between paramilitary forces, guerillas and drug cartels has prevented rural areas from thriving,” says Cacao Hunters co-founder Carlos Ignacio Velasco. “Our goal is to transform the cacao industry here and empower these communities.”

“The most important element of what we do is provide the farmers with a stable and high price for the product. Then we can create the right incentives for them to keep cultivating cacao as an alternative to coca, which contributes to the development of the country as a whole,” Velasco says. According to an impact assessment conducted by U.S.-based investment firm Acumen, the project has led to an increase in net income of 58 to 75 percent for producers.

In memory of Gabriel Pop, co-founder of Maya Mountain Cacao

In memory of Gabriel Pop, proud father, brother, son, and co-founder of Maya Mountain Cacao. When Maya Mountain Cacao first was established as a business, Gabriel worked tirelessly alongside Emily Stone to educate smallholder cacao farmers and spread enthusiasm for the concept of centralized fermentation and drying. The purchasing of wet cacao beans was an absolute paradigm shift and long-term game changer for all of the cacao farmers of Belize.

Gabriel was an instrumental pioneer in shaping Maya Mountain Cacao Ltd. to be able to work with farmers to purchase high quality wet cacao and ultimately become the farmer-focused, quality-focused company we are today as the largest exporter of cacao in Belize. We will remember Gabriel as a visionary who was always ready to look beyond the status quo for innovative solutions to complex issues in the cacao industry.

The Chocolate Bar NZ: Why Do We Focus on Bean-to-bar Craft Chocolate?


“It’s that level of attention to detail and craftsmanship that attracts us to bean-to-bar craft chocolate, and the art of chocolate making is what we choose to promote. We love hearing about the unique techniques of chocolate makers - the way they figure out roasting profiles, the machinery they use to crack, winnow, grind and conche, the timings they prefer and their mastery of tempering. These details are often an extension of the chocolate maker’s personality, and help us to feel truly connected to the chocolate we choose to put in our bodies. All of this appeals to our extreme food-geekery, and as learning about this process is something new to most people, it’s one of the main things we enjoy talking about with our customers.”

A New Year, and a new way to receive samples!

Our US craft and at-home chocolate making contingent is growing and we want to support makers of all kinds by providing the beans you need to fulfill your cacao dreams — both small and large. As a result, starting in 2019, we are adding more flexibility to small volume orders within the United States, by partnering with Chocolate Alchemy for our sample order fulfillment services. This partnership allows us to ship sample orders internationally.

What this means for US-based customers:

  1. Nothing will change for you on the ordering end. Cacao samples should still be ordered through our website at https://www.uncommoncacao.com/order-samples/

  2. We will now be selling samples from our US stock by the pound rather than by the kilogram, providing you with more flexible ordering capacity.

  3. There will be a price drop for orders of over 5lbs  

  4. There will be a packing slip in your sample shipments from Chocolate Alchemy, listing the return address from them. However, if you have any issues with your order, please contact Anjuli.

Why partnering with Chocolate Alchemy is so sweet (pun intended):

  1. Quicker order fulfillment!

  2. You can now order way more than 5kgs at a time, including partial sacks!

  3. We can process a higher volume of sample orders as we bring in new origins for you to try!

  4. This partnership allows us to ship sample orders internationally.

    1. If you are interested in having samples shipped to you outside of the U.S. please contact our sales director Anjuli (anjuli@uncommoncacao.com).

We are committed to providing you with the highest quality consistent cacao from our origin operations and are excited to welcome this new growth with you!

Happy New Year!

All of us at Uncommon Cacao

Fundraise with us on Kiva to help farmers at Lachuá, Chivite, and Cahabón produce cacao this season!

Here’s how you can contribute:

  1. Create a profile at www.kiva.org

  2. Put $25 (or $50, or $100, or $1000!) into your Kiva account

  3. Go to the lending page of one of these four (or all four!) associations:

    1. ASODIRP (Lachuá): https://www.kiva.org/lend/1646532

    2. ASOSELNOR (Lachuá): https://www.kiva.org/lend/1646539

    3. ADEMAYACH (Chivite): https://www.kiva.org/lend/1646525

    4. ADIOESMAC (Cahabón): https://www.kiva.org/lend/1646524

  4. Click “Lend Now” - it will be added to your basket

  5. Go to your Basket, and Check Out! **


Uncommon Cacao has renewed our long-standing partnership with Kiva.org, an international nonprofit that connects people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva enables individuals - anywhere in the world - to lend as little as $25 toward an entrepreneur, farmer, or small business owner. This $25, in combination with $25 increments from millions of other lenders, provides working capital financing to entrepreneurs, farmers, and small business owners around the world, who otherwise would not be able to obtain a loan.

In 2013, Maya Mountain Cacao fundraised on the Kiva platform to provide working capital financing for smallholder farmers in Belize. These loans helped farmers buy tools, expand their land, graft their trees, and/or pay for an extra helping hand during the harvest season so that they could expand and improve upon their cacao businesses.

This year, we are excited to be able fundraise for working capital financing to the associations that our partner company, Cacao Verapaz buys from, in Guatemala. Every year, at the start of the cacao harvest season, these associations struggle without working capital. For the first month of the season, the association is buying and processing cacao, but doesn’t yet have any finished product to sell to Cacao Verapaz. Thus, they have limited cash. This can be highly problematic, as farmers have been waiting almost a year, since the last harvest season, for their cacao income. It is critical for farmers that the association have cash to pay them upon delivery. This way, they have immediate access to income, and so farmers are more interested in delivering beans to the association.

This year, we are fundraising the capital needed for these associations on Kiva:

  1. Two of the associations that produce the cacao for the Lachuá beans Uncommon Cacao sells are fundraising on Kiva: ASODIRP and ASOSELNOR. Each are fundraising a sum of $3900 for the season, to buy both organic and conventional cacao that they will ultimately sell to Cacao Verapaz.

  2. ADEMAYACH, which is the name of the association for our Chivite beans, is also fundraising on Kiva. They are also asking for $3900 for their season, to produce both organic and conventional beans.

  3. Finally, ADIOESMAC, in the Cahabón region of Alta Verapaz, is fundraising $5500 for their season.


We are thrilled to be able to help provide capital to these associations through Kiva. They have worked incredibly hard since Cacao Verapaz started exporting from Guatemala in 2015, growing their volumes every year (this year is no exception!). We also love the partnership with Kiva, because it enables several things that would otherwise not be possible:

  1. These loans are too small for traditional agriculture lenders, who normally ask for a minimum of $50,000-$100,000 per harvest season. Without Kiva, we wouldn’t have another lender to go to for this capital.

  2. These loans are interest free! This means the associations simply repay the principle!

  3. These loans are low risk. If you lend $25, the most you lose is $25 if it isn’t repaid. If it is repaid, you can either re-lend to another borrower, or take your money out of the Kiva system.

  4. This is a great opportunity for you to positively contribute to these communities, outside of buying beans. Without this funding, the associations cannot buy the cacao they need to sustain their businesses

Help us show support for these communities that bring you your favorite cacao beans to life by lending today!

** note, Kiva will add on a suggested donation - this is not a required portion of your transaction, but Kiva is a non-profit, and get a significant amount of funding through these donations.

Smaller Makers- It’s time to order full bean sacks!

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Smaller Makers- It’s time to order full bean sacks!

Are you a small maker thinking about increasing your volume? Does one sack seem like an intimidating amount of beans? Our origins range in sack size from 50-70kgs, so we can help you find a flavor and size match for your needs. Unroasted cacao beans will last up to a year 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%. Buying full sacks can ease your production planning, boost efficiency, and allow you to work at your own pace. Cacao tends to absorb the surrounding aromas and flavors, so be sure to store separately from other fragrant products.

Eco Business Article: Work with suppliers, not against them, to end modern slavery


Work with suppliers, not against them, to end modern slavery

Take a hard look at your supply chains, accept its realities, and then work tirelessly to put an end to forced and child labour, said experts at a recent event on human rights.

Read the full article here: https://www.eco-business.com/news/work-with-suppliers-not-against-them-to-end-modern-slavery/