Tanzania 73% – 2018 Harvest
Kokoa Kamili Fermentary was founded by Brian LoBue and Simran Bindra, who have backgrounds in international development throughout eastern and southern Africa. Prior to Kokoa Kamili, a single buyer dominated the area – the local arm of one of the world’s largest soft commodity trading houses. A sole buyer meant it had the power to set the price for cacao, and farmers had little alternatives. Historically, farmers in the Kilombero Valley received some of the lowest prices for cacao in the country. In Kokoa Kamili’s first year alone Kilombero farmers received the highest prices in Tanzania for their cacao.
Today, Kokoa Kamili works with nearly 3000 smallholder farmers, most of whom farm between 0.5-2 acres of cocoa. Kokoa Kamili pays a premium–well above the market rate–to farmers for their ‘wet’ cacao, and conducts its own fermentation and drying. By taking over the fermentation and drying process, Kokoa Kamili can produce more consistently higher quality cacao beans. This method gives farmers a reduced workload, along with greater compensation, and the farmers are paid immediately after the cooperative receives its wet beans. Kokoa Kamili also distributes cacao seedlings to farmers in the community. In the past three years, they have aided in the planting of over 140,000 trees. Kokoa Kamili is situated in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, an area known for its abundance of bird and mammal wildlife. It is most famous for the eleven different primate species, bird life, and is one of three remaining sites that support Savannah Elephants in a mountainous environment. Current estimates say that 2,000 elephants reside in and around the Udzungwa area.
Our approach to creating our chocolate is very similar to the process of making wine. We only use natural ingredients with no fillers (such as cacao butter, artificial flavors, synthetic emulsifiers, etc.) to let each variety show its unique character. Single origin chocolate is chocolate that’s made from one variety of cacao harvested in one region. Why does this matter? Cacao is a plant. Like other plants, its beans take on the characteristics of the region where it’s grown—its terroir. Many terms used to describe single origin chocolate will be familiar to wine lovers—earthy, floral, herbal and berry, to name a few. When cacao is blended, the effect of terroir is lost just like wines.
We taste a sharp Immediate candied orange notes follows with chocolate cookie dough and lightly smoked maple syrup.
All of our single-origin chocolate is made with just cacao beans and organic unrefined sugar; no added cacao butter, lecithin, or vanilla. Our chocolate is free of soy, dairy, eggs, and gluten, and it is made in a factory that does not process dairy, peanuts or tree-nuts with the exception of coconut.