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! **


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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.




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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

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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/

Blog Repost: TRANSPARENCY IN SPECIALTY COCOA: AN INTERMEDIARY’S VIEW

“Transparent” now feels like a charged word. Perhaps it should be a neutral term, but at least in cocoa, being “transparent” has become almost a morally good act in itself. If companies are transparent—for example, by publishing reports on their sourcing practices, as both  Taza Chocolate  and  Uncommon Cacao  do—then that act of revealing business detail seems, already, a “good” deed. If a company is not transparent, then it may seem as if it has something to hide, and the lack of transparency is therefore, on its own, “bad.”

“Transparent” now feels like a charged word. Perhaps it should be a neutral term, but at least in cocoa, being “transparent” has become almost a morally good act in itself. If companies are transparent—for example, by publishing reports on their sourcing practices, as both Taza Chocolate and Uncommon Cacao do—then that act of revealing business detail seems, already, a “good” deed. If a company is not transparent, then it may seem as if it has something to hide, and the lack of transparency is therefore, on its own, “bad.”

Going Beyond the Bar

This year, we're inspired by the variety of chocolate confections we've seen made with specialty cacao.

Utilizing cacao in a variety of pastry and ready-to-serve drink applications can act as a key driver for success in our industry. The best way to improve our farmers livelihoods at origin is to buy their beans. Finding unique ways to incorporate the beans as nibs, chips or however you like helps end consumers connect with our sources in new and exciting ways.
(Pictured: Zak's Chocolate Single Origin Brownie Flights)

Beyond the bar thinking promotes long term relationships with farmers, offering stability to their cacao production through new uses for cacao and increasing volumes in seasonal planning. By purchasing their beans year after year & creating more chocolate confections, we can foster success, longevity, and partnership across the cacao supply chain.

Best Beans for Fall Treats

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Holiday Bean Spotlight:

Our favorite beans for holiday treats.

Try pairing Cahabón chocolate with your cookies this year! This cacao has an inherent Oreo flavor which perfectly fits the bill for chocolate or chocolate chip cookies. We’re also really digging the Maya Mountain Cacao with pumpkin pie combo. Either top your Pumpkin pie with Maya Mountain Cacao or bake it into the dessert. The choice is yours! This cacao’s notes of pineapple, raisin and honey really bring out the fall flavors of pumpkin pie.


Hello Seattle! Join us at the 2018 NWCF

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👋👋👋 Seattle! We’re at the @nwchocolate #nwchocolatefestival(Un)Conference, speaking about all things cacao -- from building relationships with importers to learning how to be an ally to farmers & communities globally. We’d love to see you at some of our talks & chat with you in person. Come learn with us at these events!
Thurs. 10:30 AM: Building Relationships with Importers for Cacao Supply
Thurs. 2:00 PM: Sourcing Practices for Craft Chocolate
Thurs. 4:00 PM: Countries in Conflict: How to be an Ally in Cacao & Chocolate
Fri. 4:00 PM: The Future of Craft Chocolate
We hope to see you there!

Join us for a great Bean to Beer Party!

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Your Invited to our Bean-to-beer party

@ Indi Chocolate in Pike Place Market. indi chocolate is located on Western Ave

7 PM

Hosted with love for craft chocolate by Uncommon Cacao, Meridian Cacao, Cacao Services, Atlantic Cocoa, Mabco Trading, Zorzal Cacao, Costa Esmeraldas Caca0

because #fermentationbringsustogether

This event is 21+ and IDs will be checked at the door. Thanks and we hope to see you there!

Betta Belize in this origin!

Belize has just two highways, one running north-south and one running east-west. You can drive for miles any day of the week without passing another vehicle. Nearby El Salvador squeezes a population of over 6 million in essentially the same geographic size as Belize, which has only 380,000 citizens. Belize’s capital city of Belmopan is the smallest in the western hemisphere.


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But don’t let Belize’s small size fool you. This country’s long and colorful history means it is one of the most diverse in the world. Belize was first part of the ancient Maya Lowlands region occupied by over 7 million people before 1000 AD, then invaded by Scottish pirates and conquered by the British Empire, who brought over indentured servants from (primarily East) India. Belize, known as British Honduras at the time, was then discovered by the sea-faring Garifuna, settled by German Mennonites, and in more recent decades scores of Chinese, North Americans, and Europeans migrated to Belize after it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1981 and became a sovereign nation.

Belize’s cacao history is equally rich and surprisingly complicated for the small volume of cocoa beans that are produced in the country each year (about 150 MT).


Here are the chocolatey highlights:

  • 1960’s: the British Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) planted 300 acres of cacao, the first commercial cocoa planting in Belize since Maya times

  • 1981: ancient Mayan pottery with traces of chocolate was discovered, dating back over 2,600 years.

  • 1982: the Hershey Company planted 750 acres with cocoa in a plan to develop the company’s first world-class technical farm. Hershey imported and ran trials on a wide variety of clones from around the world. They propagated hundreds of thousands of trees for distribution to Maya farmers in southern Belize. Hershey abruptly left Belize in 1993 when cocoa prices dropped and their plantation became much less efficient than buying from the market.

  • 1993: these Maya farmers were discovered by Craig Sams of Green & Black’s chocolate, and became the first-ever certified Fairtrade and organic cocoa imported into the UK. Belize served as the primary origin for Green & Black’s in the chocolate company’s early years.

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  • 2010: Maya Mountain Cacao was established in Belize by Uncommon Cacao, introducing a key innovation that revolutionized the flavor potential of the local crop: centralized fermentation and drying. Throughout Belize’s cacao history before Maya Mountain Cacao, all farmers were fermenting and drying their beans individually at home, sometimes with drying decks shared between neighbors. There were no chocolate bars outside of Belize made of 100% Belizean cacao until Mast Brothers’ “Moho River” bar launched in 2011, made with Maya Mountain Cacao.

  • 2011: a consortium led by the research institution CIRAD sequenced and analyzed the cocoa genome – using an ancient heirloom Criollo tree discovered in Belize’s Bladen Nature Reserve.

The rich history of Belize’s cacao industry, combined with the country’s stunning limestone karstic landscape and lowland tropical and rainy environment, created the perfect storm of flavor that was waiting to be fine-tuned through centralized post-harvest.

While ancient criollo can still be found deep in the nature reserves of Belize and on small private plots, the vast majority of cacao cultivated by the smallholder Maya farmers of the south are – surprise – Amelonado-dominant hybrids and other Upper Amazon Forastero (Iquitos/Nanay, Paranari, and Ecuadorian Nacional) hybrids. Genetic testing of the beans through support of the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative suggest the diversity of clones in Belize likely originates from the CDC and Hershey plantings as well as seeds brought across the border over hundreds of years from Mayan communities in Guatemala.

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The beans carefully produced by the farmers in Maya Mountain Cacao’s network and fermented by our team in Belize offer consistent, rich flavor notes of honey, pineapple, raisin, tobacco, and fudge. The versatility of this flavor profile allows for deeply satisfying dark milk chocolate, deliciously approachable 100% cacao chocolate, and everything in between. Dandelion Chocolate’s 70% Maya Mountain bar won high honors – again – in the 2018 International Chocolate Awards, winning the judge’s grand prize for the second year in a row.

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After an intense competitive rush to Belize in the last five years (a whole other story, and worthy fodder for another blogpost) that drove prices up for this low volume, highly desired cacao, prices have reset in 2018 and returned to a more realistic range. We’ve worked hard to educate and communicate with farmers about the importance of selling beans at a stable price that can maintain for years to come as production grows. That said, farmgate prices in Belize are still high compared to global norms, at ~$3,200/MT paid directly to farmers for wet cacao – over $1,000 over the NY futures market as of the date of this blogpost.

Volumes of cacao in Belize are growing and all of the pieces are now in place for the consistency of flavor and pricing for years to come. This bean offers a winning opportunity for makers seeking well-rounded flavor, rarity, and a compelling story for their chocolate. We’re so excited to introduce this bean to new makers, and to re-introduce it to those who have known and loved it in the past. The 2018 harvest is now available from our U.S. warehouse as of this month -- ask us for a sample and be a part of Belize’s rich cacao future!