We recognise the demand for natural, organic, directly sourced chocolate from customers, and are delighted to source cocoa directly from the El Ceibo Co-operative in Bolivia for our organic hot chocolate and 100% cocoa.
Zuma are happy to work with El Ceibo who use organic methods and today grow an estimated 70% of the total organic cocoa cultivated in Bolivia. At El Ceibo, farmers grow cocoa locally and process it on site, so more of the profit stays with the workers and their families. The quality cocoa is grown without using chemical pesticides or fertilisers. El Ceibo farmers share their knowledge from farmer to farmer to increase productivity and improve quality, much in the same way we share our knowledge with customers.
We also work with the Fairtrade Foundation for our Zuma Fairtrade Dark hot chocolate meaning we can guarantee the farmers and workers benefit from fair prices, decent working conditions and good terms of trade for our Fairtrade chocolates.
We care about where all our cocoa comes from so we also support the work of the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) to protect children and tackle child labour in West African cocoa-growing communities.
The cacao tree
The main ingredient of chocolate is cacao, which grows on six-metre-high cacao trees. It takes six months for the flowers of the cacao tree to turn into fruit pods. When they’re ripe, they’re red, orange or yellow – and as big as footballs.
The farmers cut the pods from the trees with machetes or long bamboo poles with knives attached. Some countries grow pods all year round, but harvesting normally peaks between September and November, and April/May and July
Fermenting the beans
The white, fleshy beans are split from the pod, and left to ferment for three to five days. This process changes them into the flavour and colour of chocolate.
The dried fermented beans are transferred to the factory, cleaned and roasted, then dehusked to give cocoa nibs. The nibs are ground to a paste. This ground paste is finally pressed to create two things; one is cocoa butter, which comes out of the cacao as oil, and the other is the cocoa we use in our hot chocolates.
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