Trinitario cacao prefers to be grown near the Equator in hot tropical areas of Ecuador. The trees take root in lush soils, reach up to 40 ft. in height and around three years of age start producing their distinct floral smelling pods. The pods after harvested when mature and range in color from light to medium shades of purple. Each pod is split open to reveal dozens of little beans, coated in thick white, sweet pulp. To avoid germination, the beans are placed in special boxes, where microorganisms react with the sweet pulp, initiating the fermentation and heating up the beans. Over the next five days, a series of reactions occur, causing the pulp to break down, heat up and ultimately kill the bean. This process breaks down the beanâ€™s cell wall and results in chemical changes that are responsible for the flavor and color. After the fermentation process, the beans are rinsed off, laid flat, and rotated frequently to promote even drying. Most companies will roast the beans which destroys a lot of natural flavor and nutrients the plant took so long to develop. We believe these flavors and nutrients are important and something to be enjoyed, so instead of roasting, we remove the shell and gently crush the bean into nibs. The nibs are melted into a thick paste and pressed to separate the solids (cacao powder) from the liquids (cacao butter) resulting in a pure, simple yet exceptionally flavorful powder.
The rich fertile soil, rainy leafy hills, and temperate island climate of the Dominican Republic forms the perfect locale for cultivating and curing cacao. Cooperatives and individual farmers plant and tend the cacao trees, the most notable in quality occurring in the Cibao Valley, San Francisco de Macoris, and Santiago areas.
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