Adventures in Peru


the long road to sustainable cocoa in Peru

After a three hour boat journey we reach our destination, Rio Ene. I am joined by a team of agronomists as I meet the native community deep in the rainforest of Peru. As soon as we're on land, there's no trace of car, electricity or chemicals.

In the centre of the native community's village, a fish is slowly cooking above three burning wood logs. Children are running, and there's an air of happiness and simplicity all around.

 

 The chief of the community introduces George, a man in his late 40s. I was surprised to find out, he has two wives (they're sisters) and 25 children. The whole family is dedicated to growing organic cocoa. 

We hike to George's fields in anticipation of finding what we had hoped for: ancient cocoa tree species native only to Peru.

For years, the government has been distributing new higher yielding species of cocoa to the cocoa farmers in Peru, in the hope to make agriculture more efficient. Unfortunately these new varieties are poor in taste, hence diluting the quality (and reputation!) of the original Peruvian fine flavour cocoa.

our master farmer George in Peru

Peruvian cocoa trees in sustainable farming community

A rare find

Amongst a range of different cocoa trees we identify an ancient tree. Tasting its raw, fresh cocoa beans is an experience - they taste like peaches!
The agronomists teach the farmer how to graft this tree's branches. This allows George to distribute the spectacular qualities of fine flavour cocoa and promises acknowledgment by the cocoa expert community. Through knowledge transfer and traditional focus on quality over quantity, George can now earn a sustained income for his family.

finding exceptional cocoa beans in Peru