The Nitty Gritty
Most Recent Visit by Taza: June, 2018
Country: Dominican Republic
Number of Farmers: 1
Number of Female Farmers: 0
Numbers of Hectares Certified Organic: 160
Total Cacao Exported: 300MT
Fermentation Boxes in New Facility: 32
Farm Team Members: 30
Annual volume purchased by Taza: 25.2 metric tons
Average price paid by Taza*: $3,200 per metric ton
For decades, the Dominican Republic has been the country on the island of Hispaniola with modern processing facilities and high quality cacao exports. Haiti, meanwhile, has sold its cacao into low paying commodity markets. Last year, Aline of PISA joined me in visiting our partners in the Dominican Republic to learn from their experience producing exceptional cacao.
Our time at Finca Elvesia ended up more learning exchange than one-way lesson. Farm Manager Samuel, his agronomist Dario, and Samuel’s teenage sons Sandy and Randy gave Aline advice on managing the health and productivity of cacao trees - a hectare of Finca Elvesia land produces 3-5x as much cacao as a typical hectare in Haiti. But Aline had plenty of wisdom to share with Samuel and his team on effectively fermenting cacao despite the region’s regular rains and cold nights.
When I arrived at Finca Elvesia this June, I was curious to see if Aline’s ideas had been put into practice. As soon as we walked into the Farm’s new fermentation facility, I had my answer: the center boasted four rather than three levels of fermentation boxes. While this may seem like a small distinction, the extra level of boxes allows a hotter, more complete cacao fermentation. In Finca Elvesia’s climate, this improvement can turn under-fermented, bitter beans into well-fermented, pleasant ones.
This October, Sandy and Randy made their first ever trip to the US to visit Taza! Along with PISA’s Aline and OKO’s Gualberto and Adriano and their eldest daughters, Sandy and Randy traveled to Somerville to attend a chocolate conference at Harvard University, to check out the inaugural New England Chocolate Festival, and of course, to see our chocolate factory and meet the Taza team. Our Direct Trade Partners always show incredible hospitality during my visits, and it was great fun to give them a warm welcome of our own!
*Price Paid by Taza is on FOB terms and equal to the negotiated fixed price or to the negotiated premium plus the world market price on the day the contract is closed.