Cocoa comes from the beans of a small, tropical, evergreen tree, which is then fermented and roasted before it’s made into the sweet delicacy we know. Medical studies have shown that the antioxidants it contains are associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of heart disorders.
The world cocoa market distinguishes between two broad categories of cocoa beans: “fine flavour”, and “ordinary” cocoa beans. With its Nacional Arriba variety, Ecuador produces almost two thirds of the global supply of fine flavour beans.
The fine flavour bean is still the preferred option of the greatest chocolatiers who look for its particular floral and nutty aroma to disinguish a dark Premium chocolate.
Our cocoa comes from SKS farms who support small famers in developing organic agricultural projects. SKS encourage small farmers to move from conventional to organic farming practices. SKS runs a nursery for germinating the native Cocoa Nacional Arriba Fino de Aroma.
The continuation of Arriba is vital since it is a cocoa variety, which has been disappearing as new, high yielding, varieties have been displacing this native species despite the lack of aroma of new varieties.
The trend for new high yielding and disease resistant strains of cocoa is increasing the homogeneity of cocoa and threatening the loss of the Arriba flavour profile.
Nacional cocoa is predominantly grown in Arriba Mocache, Los Rios, Ecuador. The Cocoa Nacional Arriba Fino de Aroma tree only grows in Ecuador. It is a prized species among chocolate because of its unique floral aroma and its nut flavor taste.
Typical Nacionals possess a delicate cocoa flavor, accented by a perfumed floral scent and lovely floral tones including a dominant jasmine note and nutty after-tones. However, others can be quite hearty and bear flavors of coffee, vanilla, soft red fruits and spice.
Unlike most Forastero cocoa beans, which can be harsh and bitter, the bitterness level of Arriba beans is practically nil—its flavor is smooth, which further adds to its unique character. In fact, it is a “sweeter” bean, and in higher percentage cocoa products—75% and up—it produces a sweeter, smoother chocolate given the same amount of sugar as a different bean.