Balancing in Belize - Maya Mountain Cacao

Balancing in Belize - Maya Mountain Cacao

The Maya Mountain team has mastered the balance between their work in the field with smallholder growers in southern Belize and applying their expertise to the post harvest process at their central fermentation and drying facilities.

Excellent Flavor Potential

Belize’s rich history of cacao production, combined with the country’s stunning limestone karstic landscape and lowland tropical forest, combine to create incredible flavors. All of that flavor potential is fine-tuned through centralized post harvest techniques, including careful observation throughout the fermentation process, solar drying on raised beds and hand sorting before being packed.

Heirloom Cacao Genetics

In 2014 the cacao produced by the Maya Mountain farmers network was awarded an Heirloom Cacao Preservation (@hcpcacao) designation. As a result of genetic testing for this award, we know that the vast majority of the cacao that is cultivated by smallholder Maya farmers in the southern part of Belize are Amelonado-dominant hybrids and other Upper Amazon Forastero hybrids.  

Rural Cacao Production

The network of growers includes more than 450 families, most of whom are indigenous Q’eqchi’ and Mopan Maya and who have been producing cacao for generations. During the busy harvest season, the Maya Mountain buying team travels long distances to reach growers in order to purchase their fresh, wet cacao directly.

Buying Directly from Growers

Every bag or bucket from each harvest is weighed, recorded and then paid for directly to the growers.  As a result the long term relationships that have been cultivated for more than a decade allows for effective communication about harvest times and volumes. This ensures efficient planning as makers globally plan out their chocolate production schedules and sourcing needs.  

Post Harvest Expertise

Cacao trees in the Maya Mountain network are typically intercropped with hardwood trees, banana, mango, avocado and coconut. The resulting cacao has incredible flavor notes of honey, pineapple, raisin and caramel.

Balancing the post harvest production effort necessary for the team at Maya Mountain with the productivity and wellbeing of growers in the area is the foundation of success that results in this delicious, award winning cacao.

Consistently Award Winning

The resulting cacao from Maya Mountain has incredible flavor notes of honey, pineapple, raisin and caramel.  In 2019 it was awarded a Cocoa of Excellence Award, which placed it within the Top 20 cocoas globally.  In 2021 Maya Mountain cacao received a total of 19 awards between the U.S.A and Europe and in 2022 they won 17 awards in the USA alone. This is a well loved bean globally.

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