Quality single-origin chocolate begins with high quality trees. The Chachi mostly grow Naccional cacao. After harvest, fermentation is the next step. As depicted in the pictures, there are many ways to ferment cacao. Depending on the location and the local microbes different techniques and time frames work better. We are still trying to dial in the best fermentation techniques for this part of Ecuador. As the cooperative has come together, one of the first steps was to solicit the Ecuador government for training in proper fermentation.
After fermenting the cacao, it must be properly dried.
After the beans have fermented for approximately three days, they are removed from the box and laid out to dry for another several days. In the past, the Chachi communities relied on any flat surface; however, this leads to a poor product. The Hawaii and Ecuadorian communities involved in this endeavor partnered to build more robust drying facilities to properly dry cacao in this very wet part of the world.