From the headwaters of the Amazon
The Ucayali river in Peru is one of the major headwaters of the Amazon. Along its banks sit hundreds of small family farms which provide the flavorful beans for our Ucayali bar.
The Ucayali region is on Peru’s east coast and has long been known as a principal coca growing area. While many farmers in the region once grew coca they have increasingly been turning to fine flavor cacao as an alternative. Part of the reason for this change is the increased price that craft makers like us are paying for premium cacao, and another is an initiative being undertaken by the Peruvian government to eradicate coca crops and thereby reduce the endemic crime it brings.
We visited several farms in the region, including William Taleverno’s. He and his family hosted us for lunch and a tour of their cacao trees, and showed us the many ways they’re working to improve the flavor and production of their cacao. William was so inspired by the idea of fine flavor cacao that he’s been fermenting and drying his own beans at a nearby cooperative, and using those beans to make his own chocolate! This is just one of the many ways fine flavor cacao has provided opportunities for farmers to add value at origin.
Expert fermentation and drying
William and the other farmers in the Ucayali river basin bring their wet cacao (often by boat!) to a new fermentation and drying facility built by Ucayali River Cacao, where they are paid a premium for their beans. Although the facility is in the middle of the jungle it’s optimized to allow for precise control of the fermentation and drying processes which are so critical to flavor development. The cacao is then carefully sorted in their custom built sorting machine, ensuring we receive high quality beans that are ready for roasting!
Flavor profile: An herbal and floral bar, this chocolate has notes of lemon verbena and fig.