Ecuador’s ‘Arriba’ cacao is appreciated for its superior fine flavour, but its existence is being threatened by the propagation and promotion of the industrial cacao hybrid CCN51. Original Beans’ conservation effort in alliance with small producer cooperatives in the Esmeraldas region is aimed at conserving the authentic Arriba cacao and protecting the rainforests in which this original bean thrives.
It must have been a poet who offered the name Esmeraldas, and it was a biologist who called it the Western Ecuadorian Moist Forest biome. But both referred to the same region of intensely humid rainforests who meet the Pacific Ocean in the Northwestern corner of Ecuador. The union of ocean and rainforest is, we say, the reason why we add a hint of sea salt to our Esmeraldas Milk. But salt also is a traditional ingredient of the hot cacao which the local people of three ethnic groups – mestizo, Afro-Ecuadorian, and the indigenous Chachi – drink. Each of these groups has a distinct relation with the original criollo cacao bean, the Arriba. The Afro-Ecuadorian community tells perhaps the most fascinating tale: how they took cacao from the Caribbean islands on their flight from slavery.
42% cocoa with milk and fleur de sel