Our Cocoa Beans

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Our Cocoa Beans

It all starts with the beans. We’ve built Theo around the belief that cocoa beans are more than an ingredient. Our beans and the lives they touch are at the heart of our business. Each and every one of our cocoa beans is organic, Fair Trade and Fair For Life purchased. That means they are grown sustainably in ways that promote biodiversity and positively impact the lives of the farmers we buy from. And by committing to fair pricing, we ensure that we get the best beans available, all the time.

 

The source of our beans is always changing. We work with farmers groups and grower cooperatives throughout the world, partnering by providing technical assistance and sharing our knowledge and understanding of what is required to make great chocolate. Currently, our beans come primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru. We have been actively cultivating supply chain in Tanzania for the last several years. To learn about our cocoa bean pricing specifications, click here.

It all starts with the beans. We’ve built Theo around the belief that cocoa beans are more than an ingredient. Our beans and the lives they touch are at the heart of our business. Each and every one of our cocoa beans is organic, Fair Trade and Fair For Life purchased. That means they are grown sustainably in ways that promote biodiversity and positively impact the lives of the farmers we buy from. And by committing to fair pricing, we ensure that we get the best beans available, all the time.

 

The source of our beans is always changing. We work with farmers groups and grower cooperatives throughout the world, partnering by providing technical assistance and sharing our knowledge and understanding of what is required to make great chocolate. Currently, our beans come primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru. We have been actively cultivating supply chain in Tanzania for the last several years. To learn about our cocoa bean pricing specifications, click here.

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CEPICAFE

SUPPLIER NAME: CEPICAFE

LOCATION: Chulucanas, Piura, Peru

# OF FARMERS: 500

AVG. FARM SIZE: 1-2 hectares

CERTIFICATIONS: Organic (NOP and EU), FLO

SUPPLIER NAME: CEPICAFE

LOCATION: Chulucanas, Piura, Peru

# OF FARMERS: 500

AVG. FARM SIZE: 1-2 hectares

CERTIFICATIONS: Organic (NOP and EU), FLO

 

In 2006, CEPICAFE (Central Piurana de Cafetaleros) began marketing cacao, and exported 32 MT on behalf of local farmer members. Today the cooperative works with around 500 hundred farmers in the Piura and Amazonas regions of Peru.

 

The farmer members today recognize that they can only successfully serve the market of customers willing to pay premiums for high quality products through good organization and with continuous improvement in quality. This attention to the quality demands of the consuming market is the key element of the Theo-CEPICAFE relationship, and we work together to ensure the quality of the product is maintained.

 

In 2010, Theo and CEPICAFE identified the Chulucanas region outside of Piura as an area of great potential for our partnership based on the high level of commitment of farmers and the great quality of cacao on local farms. The farmers there are organized into small regional groups of 30-40 members that have each centralized fermenting and drying as a group, thereby adding value to the overall community.

 

The other key component to the Theo – CEPICAFE relationship is our mutual agreement to conducting business transparently. By working transparently we can ensure that everyone along the entire supply chain is cared for and appropriately valued. CEPICAFE makes sure that its producers understand the world market and the way in which their product fits into the international cocoa supply chain. This education is uncommon in many cocoa producing regions and is extremely valuable for our farmer partners. When cocoa farmers understand how cocoa is graded and purchased globally, it’s an important step towards their knowing exactly what they need to do to create higher quality products, with greater market value, that will ultimately deliver greater returns on their hard work and dedication to the land they steward.

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Fortaleza del Valle

SUPPLIER NAME: Fortaleza Del Valle

LOCATION: Province of Manabî, town of Calceta, Ecuador

# OF FARMERS: 924

AVG. FARM SIZE: 2-5 hectares CERTIFICATIONS: Organic (NOP and EU),

CERTIFICATIONS:Organic (NOP and EU), FLO

SUPPLIER NAME: Fortaleza Del Valle

LOCATION: Province of Manabî, town of Calceta, Ecuador

# OF FARMERS: 924

AVG. FARM SIZE: 2-5 hectares

 

CERTIFICATIONS:Organic (NOP and EU), FLO

 

FLO Fortaleza del Valle is an Organic and Fair Trade cooperative that specializes in producing high quality Nacional cocoa. Established in 2005 to help small scale cocoa farmers organize and increase their production capacity, Fortaleza has helped both increase income and improve quality of life for its members.

 

The coop has centralized bean fermenting and drying equipment, which yields uniform, high quality cocoa beans. By pooling their harvests at the centralized processing plant and improving bean quality, the farmers are able to access premium cocoa markets, and sell their beans for a higher price than they could command as individual sellers.

 

In addition to increased prices for cocoa, Fortaleza’s farmers also have access to lines of credit, training on best farming practices and land rehabilitation, and new cocoa saplings from the nursery. All of the farmers at Fortaleza are proud to be members of the coop and share the same pride in producing Organic Nacional cacao. This particular varietal of cacao is known for its floral notes and clean finish, and provides an important component of the Theo Chocolate flavor profile.

 

Since our relationship began with Fortaleza in 2009, we have seen their farmer membership grow by almost 50%, which is testament to the fact that Fortaleza is doing right by the farmers in the area. They continue to attract new membership and increase their production, spreading their benefits to more families in the region.

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Esco Kivu

SUPPLIER NAME: ESCO KIVU

LOCATION: Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo

# OF FARMERS: 1,400

AVG. FARM SIZE: 1-2 Hectares

CERTIFICATIONS: Organic (NOP and EU), IMO Fair For Life

 

SUPPLIER NAME: ESCO KIVU

LOCATION: Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo

# OF FARMERS: 1,400

AVG. FARM SIZE: 1-2 Hectares

CERTIFICATIONS: Organic (NOP and EU), IMO Fair For Life

 

Originally established in 1970 in DR Congo, Esco Kivu is a private company responsible for fostering the planting of cocoa by smallholder farmers in Eastern Congo in 2000. Since then, Esco Kivu has promoted cocoa production through provision of planting materials, farmer training, and direct purchasing from farmers through village stores and collection centers.


In partnership with Theo Chocolate, Esco Kivu trains organic farmers in the remote Watalinga area to improve the quality of fermentation techniques. Through meeting rigorous sustainability standards and good agricultural practices, over 1,4000 farmers are now certified Organic and Fair for Life and benefiting from certification premiums. Though Watalinga remains at constant risk for attack, Esco Kivu is committed to giving direct support to farmers. Esco Kivu believes that sustainable cocoa production will help stabilize the area and provide long-term income for future generations.


Cocoa from the Kivu region has deep chocolate flavors with subtle nutty undertones. The addition of Congolese cocoa to our dark chocolate blends is an excellent complement to the floral and citrus flavor notes of our South American cocoa beans.

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More supplier info coming soon!

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