THE BLOG

Forest Stories
Grão de cacau.

Different Rivers, Different Flavors

TOCANTINS RIVER – 3 tons

Tocantins River (Pará) Cacao:  Our partners Mario and Marcio are the ones in charge of that manage the wild cacao value chain inb the the Tocantins River, close to he city of Mocajuba and in the many islands along its course. There are twenty families involved in the production of our cacao there. There is an old cacao trading tradition in that region. There are records of cacao production there since the XVII century. Production over there is focused on the so-called bulk cacao or commodity cacao, with low aggregate value. Bulk cacao is not fermented and is normally sold to big companies that are not concerned about cacao quality and flavor and aroma nuances. They are concerned about quantity and assurance of large-scale supply. We have been going to Mocajuba since 2019. After a couple of visits, we engaged with our partners partners Mario and Marcio to exchange knowledge about the cacao in the region and the best way to ferment it.

Fermentation adds value to cacao. Bulk cacao sells from R$8.00 to R$10.00 per kilogram and are sold to big companies. These prices pale in comparison to the ones we pay for (R$34,00), when the same cacao is fermented. In 2021, we bought almost three tons of cacao from Mocajuba. This is the only origin where we compete directly with big Brazilian and world companies for the cacao supply.

ACARÁ RIVER – 1.8 tons

Acará River (Pará) Cacao:  Our only supplier is Iolanda and Francisco (Bico), her husband.  They live by the margins of Arauaia river, a branch of the Acará one. Iolanda and Bico buy cacao from eight to ten riverside families in the Arauaia, Acará and Guamá rivers. We first started buying fermented cacao from Iolanda and Bico in 2015, when they fermented 200 kilograms for us. In 2021 they produced 1.8 tons. It is amazing given the conditions where they work. We face many challenges to take such production volumes from there to our factory. They live in the Forest and shipping company cannot go where they live.  Besides they cannot issue the invoices demanded by the shipping company at their home, so they have to go to the nearest town hall in the nearest city to issue the invoices. There is some considerable effort to ship that cacao. Sometimes we count with help from our partners in the Tocantins River for the logistics.

CASSIPORÉ RIVER – 1 ton

Cassiporé River (Amapá) Cacao: That was the second wild cacao origin with which we had contact after the Purus River specimen. However, we were only able to get it shipped to our production site four years later. Families had to make a huge effort. The first contacts we had with them were not enough to convince the people from Vila Velha do Cassiporé to engage in the wild cacao harvesting in the Cassiporé river. It was necessary that João Dorismar, former Vila Velha do Cassiporé resident, came back and initiated pioneer moves to develop the cacao chain in the community. After some time, Dorismar sent us some cacao samples they had fermented, but unfortunately it did not pass our quality assurance tests. After we discussed with him about these problems with the fermentation, we agreed to go to Vila Velha to perform a test fermentation according to our and protocols. After this visit, the fermentation improved, and we decided to buy their cacao. In 2021 we bought 1 ton from them. There are thirteen families in engaged in the wild cacao chain in Cassiporé.

PURUS RIVER – 1 ton

Purus River (Amazonas) Cacao: Cooperar, a co-operative society with more than 300 members, is responsible for the production of wild cacao in the Purus. They started producing wild cacao in 2006 when they sold 8 tons. In 2011 they sold 41 tons, the maximum amount they were able to produce until today. More recently production has been close to 10 to 12 tons and is mostly sold abroad.  We first bought 60 kilograms from them in September 2014, and last year we bought 1 ton. Cooperar ships the cacao by truck from Boca do Acre to our factory in São Paulo.

JURUÁ RIVER – 200 kg

Juruá River (Acre) Cacao: There is no doubt this is a very special kind of cacao, a world class cacao, in the sense that it gives chocolate flavors and aromas usually found only in fine cacao from Equator, Venezuela, and Peru. Nothing compares to the Juruá river cacao in Brazil. This wild cacao made us sure we were right to go to the West of Brazil, and get as close as possible to where geneticists agree to be the cacao birthplace: the Amazon Rainforest between Peru, Equator, Colombia, and Brazil.  The first cacao production of this origin was in 2018, under the responsibility of Osmir and Aires Andriola brothers, who got support for fermentation training in the Purus River in the previous year. The training was held by Daniel O´Doherty, one of the greatest specialists on cacao fermentation. Daniel came from Hawaii to Purus. Both Andriola brothers and Daniel had support from SOS Amazon within the scope of the Valores da Amazon (Values of the Amazon) project. Thanks to SOS Amazon resources, to Andriola brothers’ dedication, and to Daniel, the first production in the Juruá was 1 ton in 2018. And we bought everything. After the Valores da Amazon project ended and because of big floods, cacao production decreased and in the subsequent year it reached only 200 kilograms. It used to involve ten families over there, but that number dropped to less than five. In 2022, we decided to increase the price paid by the fruit in order to engage more families. The new price made them extremely excited and motivated. We hope 2022’s harvest to be even bigger than 2018’s.

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