The Courageous Team at Cacao Verapaz

The Courageous Team at Cacao Verapaz

“At Cacao Verapaz, we are not just another, ordinary company. We have been pioneers in transparent, associative, and dignified work in communities and indigenous associations that produce cacao in the northern region of Guatemala, transforming paradigms and making innovative processes oriented towards the quality of cocoa and the social welfare of the population…”  - Roy Fraatz, Technical and Quality Manager, Cacao Verapaz

Innovation Takes Courage

As the first buyer of specialty cacao fermented and dried by community associations in Guatemala, both the Cacao Verapaz team and the producer associations had to courageously pioneer new practices and relationships in their communities.

Connecting to the Market

A number of community associations had been formed after the Guatemalan civil war and some of them already had cacao fermentation and drying infrastructure. They also had a high density of planted cacao but little access to the global marketplace for specialty cacao.

Adding Value to Networks

There were already networks of coyotes (roaming merchants) who purchased lower quality cacao at low and volatile prices with no transparency or technical assistance. As a result it wasn't easy for the producers to navigate building a new model in the rural areas of Guatemala until Cacao Verapaz started doing things differently and supporting their work.  

Quality in Collaboration

Since 2014, the Cacao Verapaz team has worked with local associations, private farms, the Guatemalan government, and non-governmental organizations to socialize and train actors in the cacao industry on the quality requirements of the craft chocolate market for specialty cacao.

Producing Excellent Cacao

Overseen by General Manager Teddy Ruiz and supported by Roy Fraatz (pictured), Technical and Quality Manager; Cacao Verapaz is home to the first quality laboratory for sensory and physical evaluation of dried cacao in the country. The team has been responsible for processing Cocoa of Excellence samples since 2017.

Incorporating New Producers

Cacao Verapaz is continuing to push the envelope for specialty cacao in Guatemala. The brand new Cacao Verapaz post-harvest center known as the “Acopio,” was built in 2022 in the municipality of Cahabón, Alta Verapaz. The Cacao Verapaz team is directly managing this facility and has the opportunity to work with new producers and customize lots. This Cahabón municipality is known for being one of the largest cocoa producers nationwide, with an estimated production of 524 tons per year on an area of 1,340 ha and will be a key origin for accessible and consistent organic cacao from Guatemala.




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