FERMENTATION REVEALS THE GENETICS OF A CACAO BEAN!
For a good fermentation, once picked, cacao must be quickly opened, and the seeds must be placed inside wooden, odorless boxes.
After some days (usually five to six days), the seeds go through several microbiological processes which end when they are placed under the sun to dry.
We do not use any electronic gadget to monitor the fermentation because normally there is no electricity during the day in the communities, let alone access to batteries. Instead, we teach our partners in the Forest to use their senses – smell, sight, touch, taste – to identify the fermentation phases. We believe this is the best method to ferment cacao in the Amazon Rainforest.
A good fermentation and drying processes give birth to a fine cacao, which is different from that used as raw material for most of chocolates. Approximately 95% of the cacao produced in the world does not go through controlled fermentation process, and that happens because so little of it will be used in the industrialized formulas that it does not matter if it tastes good or bad. Other ingredients will stand out and disguise its poor quality.
But our recipe is based on quite few ingredients and lots of cacao, so even the smallest error in the beans fermentation or drying process will reflect on the chocolate flavor.
There is a lot of science in the cacao fermentation process. Every year we go to the Amazon and teach and learn how to improve processes along with the riverside communities. We do our best to get an unequaled beans quality and to get the highest aggregate value.
Given the importance of the fermentation, in 2016 we got in touch with one of the greatest specialists in the field, Daniel O’Doherty, and asked him for some help. Daniel has worked in cacao farms all over the world. He was excited about working with wild cacao for the first time ever and took it as his own personal project. We can say that Daniel took fermentation in the Upper Amazon to the next level of excellence!