Fine Flavored Cacao — Why All the Buzz About It?

Ecuador's Fine Flavored Cacao

Anecacao — Ecuador's National Association of Exporters says "The fine flavor cocoa has got very particular characteristics of aromas and flavors which the chocolate manufacturers are looking for. This cacao represents only 5% of world production. Ecuador, having many geographic and biological niches, is the best producer of the fine flavored cocoa (63% of the world production), coming from the National variety, which has been recognized for centuries on the international market for its flavors. This type of cocoa is used for the manufacturing of chocolate, which is unique by their purity, and specifically by its flavors and perfumes. This is the type of cocoa that ANECACAO encourages." 

What is Ecuadorian Arriba Cacao?

A better and more accurate definition of the "Arriba" term, when used to reference Ecuadorian cacao, would only include Nacional beans sourced in parts of the Province of Guayas, the Province of Los Ríos and a small fraction of the Province of Bolívar. [SOURCE] So then, in this sense Arriba Cacao refers to single-origin cacao. Making matters a little more confusing is that around 2006 Ecuador’s Institute of Intellectual Protection approved the name "Arriba" to be used for any National variety cacao beans—diluting the meaning of the term as a single origin cacao bean. [SOURCE] At Royal Cacao, we will be using the terms, "fine flavored cacao" and "cacao fino de aroma" as a reference to fine flavored cacao of Ecuador which excludes other cacao like the CCN-51. Each of cacao for sale will include a technical data sheet. We will be using the terms "criollo", "national", "forastero" and "hybrid" when making distinctions in referencing the fine flavored cacao of Ecuador. 

Fine Flavored Cacao Wins International Awards

Pacari Chocolates, Hoja Verde and Mashpi Chocolate from Ecuador, Le Chocolat de H from Japan and Creo Chocolate from the USA have all won awards for their entries using Ecuadorian fine flavored cacao in the prestigious 'Americas and Pacific Competition in 2016' and Pacari won 9 awards at 'The International Chocolates Awards 2015.'

CCN-51 In addition to the fine flavored cacao, Ecuador is also the home of a Forastero, or hybrid, called CCN-51 invented sometime in the 1960s. CCN-51 is an abbreviation of Coleccion Castro Naranjal with 51 being a reference to the cross number of this variety. The CCN-51 is sometimes referred to as "Don Homero" after the inventor Homero U. Castro.

And while the CCN-51 has a reputation of undesirable and dull flavors it does have its place in the market. The CCN-51 is a very prolific hybrid, producing up to 4 times more fruit than other local species, it is also highly resistant to diseases and matures in only two years. CCN-51 can be easily identified by the pods' red tint during its development and maturation; it is appreciated for its high-fat content used for the manufacture of cocoa butter.

 Sources c-spot, jeffreygstern.com, anecacao.com, quasarex.com, destination-ecuador.net

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Cacao Beans From Ecuador

These bars made with the beans from Royal Cacao are absolutely the best we've ever made! They are unbelievably delicious! Thanks Michael for sending such quality cacao.

Veritas Artizen Chocolates