THE UNIVERSE IN JUST ONE BEAN
Luisa Abram’s chocolate is made with wild cacao collected from centenary trees right where they were born, in the Amazon Rainforest. Its production tries to highlight the flavors profiles of each river where the cacao was harvested, imprinting personality related to each place and harvest to every bar.
We preserve wild cacao flavors by adding few ingredients to it. Otherwise, its true flavor would be masked. Even when we add milk to the bars, we try to preserve the flavor of that incredibly special cacao. In our opinion, it would not make sense all the effort made to get a good fermentation at the origin if we added ingredients to the recipe when the cacao arrived at our factory.
The reason why there are different flavors and aromas from bar to bar is the genetics of the beans used in the production of each of them. We deal with very homogenous cacao varieties concerning the genetics. Its reproduction has been going on for thousands of years among members of the same variety. They are ancient secular varieties. Some of them had never been used to make chocolate, such as the cacaos varieties from the Juruá and Iaco Rivers. To make the comparison between the origins easier, we always use the same recipe and few ingredients.
It is no surprise to us to hear that our chocolate flavors are uncommon, unusual and off the beaten track. But most import, it tastes wonderful!
AMAZON WILD CACAO – DIFFERENT HARVEST, DIFFERENT FLAVORS
The Amazon Rainforest is located in the equatorial zone of the Earth. That is why it has only two seasons per year, summer and winter. During the winter, the weather is hot and humid, with lots of rain; the summer, however, is the dry season. The weather is pretty stable, with no severe climate variations between one origin and the other. Cacao infrastructure in each origin is very similar: we have a fermentation house and a couple of wooden drying floors. However, rains do occur during the months of the harvests. These rains delay the drying of the cacao. We will build greenhouses in some of the origins in order to avoid these delays. Also, the drying in greenhouses are faster and easier to do than in drying floors. These infrastructure is partially or totally financed by the Abram Family.
The harvest has a direct impact on the beans flavors at each origin. One of these phenomena is related to the influence of the rainfall regime. During a drier year, temperatures use to vary less and be higher, making fermentation and drying processes faster. With no rain, drying floors stay in the open for a longer period, making it easier for the volatile acids to evaporate which makes the final product less acid. Another example would be the one during river floods, when cacao trees are more stressed and produce less fruit with less pulp. Because the fermentation is directly connected to the amount of sugar present in the pulp, we notice that instead of six days of fermentation, as our protocol says, we have to reduce it to five days, which changes the final product flavor.
We work with six different origins. In two of them, the community did not work with cacao before our arrival.
Cacao then became part of the activities of the local riverside community during the harvest in each year, and this has increased their sources of income. Tocantins River origin used to be the only one with cacao tradition since the colonization of Brazil. In this origin we compete with big companies, but we always try to offer a higher price for it. And by doing so we can keep the quality.