Our Cacao powder comes from a Fairtrade supplier in Africa who selects the finest cocoa beans from the best farming cooperatives in the country. As cocoa trees flower and produce fruit all year long, there is no one harvest season, but the cocoa pods usually take between 5-6 months to ripen completely. Naturally, cocoa trees grow to a height of 15 meters, but cultivated trees are trimmed shorter to make harvesting easier. Farmers use machetes or knives on long poles to slice down the pods individually, taking care not to damage nearby buds. When ripe, the harvested pods are cracked open by hand and the pulp and seeds are extracted. They are then placed in boxes for 3-4 days allowing the vital fermentation stage to take place. This is an important part of the process as it removes the sticky skins and allows the flavour to develop
The beans are transferred from box to box, allowing them to be turned and properly aerated so that the fermentation is successful. They are then left to dry in the sun on large trays or on the ground, this is where the deep reddish brown colour start to develop. The beans will lose much of their moisture at this stage as well as some of their original bitterness. If the beans then need to be stored while they await transport to the factory, moisture levels are monitored to make sure no mould starts to develop.
On arrival at the factory, the beans are carefully washed before being lightly toasted for approximately 45 minutes. At this point, further development of flavour occurs and the outer shell is loosened from the bean. The shells are removed and what is known as cocoa ‘nibs’ are retained. These are milled until they turn into a liquid brown mass called ‘cocoa liquor’ which is then sterilised and mechanically pressed to remove the cocoa butter present in the bean. The result is a solid ‘cocoa cake’, this cake is then ground into the powder you can find in your pouch.
During this process our cacao never encounters pesticides and are handled with care to make sure the very best quality ingredient is passed on to you.