This week, we’re all very excited to welcome several members of the Maya Mountain Cacao team to the Taza factory! These talented folks are responsible for the exceptional Belizean cacao that we use to make our single origin 77% Belize Bar. Gabriel Pop, Deon Chavarria, and Anna Marie Chen have worked with Maya Mountain since Taza Chocolate helped launch the company six years ago in Belize. They’re joined by Maya Mountain's co-founder Emily Stone, as well as former managing director Maya Granit. It is truly an honor to have them all as our guests.
On Tuesday, they spent time on our factory floor, learning how to make stone ground chocolate. They also participated in a casual round-table with some of our friends and partners from Whole Foods Market. It was a rare and very cool opportunity to have people from all stages of the supply chain connecting in the same room--growers, makers, and retailers.
Taza founder Alex in the factory with the Maya Mountain Cacao team
MMC's Deon "Wire" Chavarria with Taza Director of Manufacturing, Jim Moran
Today, Wednesday, they visit the Taza Chocolate Bar, our new retail and chocolate cafe space at the Boston Public Market, for a public meet and greet and special drinks made from freshly ground Belizean cacao--please join us and connect with the folks who grow amazing cacao! More info here.
Tomorrow, we are psyched that Gab, Deon and Anna will join the whole Taza crew at our Summer BBQ. Can’t wait to kick back and share great food, beverages, and tunes together! Stay tuned for more pics.
Here’s a bit more about our guests!
Gabriel "Gab" Pop: The local founder and owner of Maya Mountain Cacao. Over the last five years, he has built the company up from the community level, personally working with each of the 300+ farmer families in the MMC network. Today, Gab is on the brink of an exciting professional transition as he becomes director of the Na' Lu'um Cacao Institute, a non-profit founded by Gab and Emily to support cacao farming communities in Belize. Gab is a proud family man and father of three boys.
Deon "Wire" Chavarria: Maya Mountain Cacao's first employee and a part-owner of the company. Deon is a man of all trades and has done everything from building MMC's fermentation and drying facility, to picking up thousands of pounds of wet cacao from farmers, managing a nursery project with 80,000 seedlings, and serving as grill-master for over a dozen staff BBQ's. This will be his first time leaving Belize, and he is so excited to visit Taza and see the United States!
Anna Marie Chen: Maya Mountain Cacao's Office Administrator. She manages the company's financials, and also coordinates over 180 farmers' micro-credit loans via Kiva and MMC. Excitingly, Anna recently decided to become a cacao farmer herself, and planted the first few acres of her own farm! She's a proud mom of two boys and an inspiration to women leaders pushing to advance their careers and have a family at the same time.