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Partner Profile

ÖKO CARIBE

Country: Dominican Republic

Region: El Cibao, Duarte Province

Number of Farmers: 163

Partner Since: 2013

Cacao Tasting Notes: Cherry, ripe mango and lemon; bright acidity

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 People

Taza Chocolate Direct Trade ÖKO Caribe Partner Profile |  Drying Cacao

Gualberto Acebey Torrejon and Adriano de Jesus Rodriguez export some of the world's finest cacao. Yet the recognition and respect they enjoy today took them decades to earn. The men met in the Dominican Republic more than thirty years ago as colleagues at the world's largest organic cacao cooperative. Side by side, Gualberto and Adriano honed their cacao fermentation and drying skills through obsessive investigation and data collection. Finally, in 2006, they launched an enterprise of their own: ÖKO Caribe. They entered a competitive and at times cut-throat Dominican cacao industry, but their dedication and integrity won the loyalty of a growing number of smallholder farmers. Today, Gualberto and Adriano ferment and dry the cacao beans of over 150 producers, in turn exporting to Japan, Europe, and the US. As one of ÖKO Caribe's earliest and largest buyers, Taza is immensely proud to call Gualberto and Adriano partners and friends.

Place

Taza Chocolate Direct Trade ÖKO Caribe Partner Profile | Cacao Bean Sacks

ÖKO Caribe's cacao collection and processing center is located just outside of San Francisco de Marcoris in the Dominican Republic. A giant cacao pod statue greets visitors as they enter the city, announcing the important role of cacao in the local economy. The company's producer partners live throughout the larger region known as El Cibao, home to 21,000 of the country’s approximately 35,000 cacao farming families. El Cibao's deep, fertile soils and regular rainfall also support rice and coffee cultivation, and the fertile valley is considered the country's cultural heartland.

Pod

Taza Chocolate Direct Trade ÖKO Caribe Partner Profile | Harvesting Cacao

Farmers in the region generally own several hectares of land, planted partially or entirely with cacao trees. During the country's two cacao harvest seasons, the farmers cut open the pods, remove the fruit-covered seeds (commonly referred to as beans), and collect them in buckets to be collected by ÖKO Caribe. Once transported to the company's processing facility, the organic cacao beans undergo six days of expert fermentation in wooden boxes followed by a week of solar drying, give or take a day based on the weather. The whole process is closely monitored by Adriano and Gualberto, and their love of cacao results in an exceptional bean with notes of cherry and ripe mango with a bright finish that serves as the base bean for over 50% of Taza's chocolates.

 TRY CACAO FROM ÖKO CARIBE WITH OUR DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ORIGIN BARS! 
60% DARK CHOCOLATE:

 

 60% dark chocolate highlights warm vanilla and ripe mango notes in our organic Dominican cacao. 

70% DARK CHOCOLATE:

 

70% dark chocolate, crafted from organic Dominican cacao, has deep, rich flavor notes of dried tart cherries and fruity tobacco leaf.

 

80% DARK CHOCOLATE:

 

80% dark chocolate, crafted from organic Dominican cacao, starts with a burst of ripe strawberry fruit, then mellows into coffee and smoky notes. 

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