Our Ecuadorian beans are Arriba Nacional. Nacional is a variety of cacao specific to Ecuador and regarded as distinct from Criollo. The floral aroma unique to the Nacional cacao is called the ‘Arriba’ flavour; true Arriba Nacional cacao is exclusive to Ecuador and considered to be the world’s finest. The Arriba Nacional beans are grown in mineral rich volcanic soil at high elevation in Ecuador. The cacao trees are carefully cultivated to organic standards in this unpolluted natural environment, and the beans sun dried and processed using custom built equipment to ensure that the raw cacao is of the very highest quality.
Our supplier, Robert, is widely regarded as the world’s leading authority on raw cacao and is a passionate exponent of its health benefits. Robert’s vision is “to turn the world on to real raw cacao” which he believes, amongst other things, helps open the pineal gland.
Cocoa trees produce fibrous pods 15 to 25 cm long and 7 to 10 cm in diameter. Each contains 20 to 40 beans (seeds) within a pulp. The raw un roasted beans are about 2.5 cm long and contain roughly 65% water. After harvesting, the cacao pods are opened, and the beans and pulp removed. These are piled together and fermented over several days in the ambient tropical temperature (below 118°F, 47°C). The fermentation process is a key stage in the development of the classic delicate Chocolate aroma and flavour of our beans. Following fermentation, the beans are carefully sun dried, again below 118°F, which can take several days. Once fermented and dried, water content of the beans falls to approximately 5%.
At this stage the beans are broken up, into nibs, and put through a winnower to separate the nibs from their shells. The nibs are then stoneground for 10-12 hours into an ultra-fine paste; the processing temperature is kept below 118°F throughout. The paste is pressed through a fine mesh which retains the cacao particles as a ‘cake’ while the butter flows through. The retained cake is broken up and sifted into cacao powder, while the butter is allowed to set and then packed for dispatch.
Our Raw Ecuadorian Cacao butter is an exclusive, high quality butter carefully
made by one of the world’s leading cacao growers. An essential ingredient for
making your own raw chocolate’s.