Cacao has been traded across Mesoamerica for thousands of years.
Based in Lake Atitlan, we source from Guatemalan rainforests reaching isolated organic farmers.
Cacao’s flavor varies based on the region, climate, and soil in which it grows. Cacao Source offers you the opportunity to explore the jungle by choosing the origin of your medicine food. We only distribute criollo cacao hybrids cultivated in farmer-owned lands.
Each batch of cacao is carefully fermented, dried, and toasted. The artisanal processing of the seeds allows an extraordinarily high-quality control. Hand peeling allows our women’s collectives to ensure that each bean is in the perfect state.
Small-scale Locally Owned Farms
This cacao is harvested in the Suchitepéquez Mountains of the Guatemalan Pacific front: the largest area of cacao forests in Central America during Pre-Columbian times. For millennia, the art of agriculture and hybridization was mastered in these mountains.
Through generations of alchemy, this cacao’s flavor has been crafted to be fruity, acidic, rich in fats, and offer caramel bittersweet aromas typical to fermented ceremonial grade cacao.
The 15 women of this collective reestablished an old regional tradition of cultivating cacao in a beautiful way that provides their community with abundance and stability. The recent success of their delicious production allows them to develop their artisan workshop and propose an authentic quality of single-origin cacao.
- Diversre criollo hybrids
- Fermented for 5 days in baskets covered with banana leaves
- Women’s collective
- Fruit forest village
- Abundance of rivers
- Altitude 550m
- Suchitepequez region
This ancestral cacao is the product of ´´Tuqtuquilal´´, a regenerative center that uses reforestation to empower cacao. The collective is focusing on the exchange of information to develop sustainable living solutions for the benefit of the local Q’eqchi community and visitors alike. The center is a start-up non-profit that grows organic cacao.
This cacao is grown in the mountain region of Alta Verapaz, close to the famous waterfalls of Semuc Champey, and at the mouth of the Lanquin River.
The collective’s focus on breed selection allows them to distribute highly aromatic criollo hybrid beans that are carefully fermented, dried, selected, and processed.
- Selected local criollo Hybrids
- Fermented for 9 days in large wooden cases
- Permaculture impact center
- Farmers cooperative involving 60 families
- Mountian-side cacao forests
- Altitude 400-600m
- Alta Verapaz region
Springs Cacao was named in a moment of astonishment. We were standing there, in a valley covered with a lush variety of trees: coffee, zapotillos, bananas, and so many others. An agroforestry dream. By our side, Juan, grandfather in the family, told us there are 4 springs there, embedded in the delicious curves of this mountain jungle, at 400 m facing the Pacific coast. But there is more than one step to a true astonishment. Moments later– we couldn’t believe what we heard– Juan was explaining that he remained organic because he never had enough money to buy the fertilizers that are suggested as a norm of success in that region. Synchronistic epiphany:
“Your cacao is the best we’ve tried in a while,” we told him. “We will help you share this treasure to the world”. His smile underlined our joy: magic happened. Springs cacao magnifies a deep bitterness with coffee and banana accents. Its fat content surpasses most cacaos in the world due to the abundance of water in the village of “Las Victorias” where it grows. Also because it’s genomic lineage was preserved from industrial hybridization.
- Local hybrid strains
- Fermented for 10 days in a small wooden box covered with banana leaves
- Family-owned isolated land
- Diverse agroforesty ecosystem
- Proximity with coffee plantations and semi-wild ecosystems
- Proximity with multiple springs
- Altitude 400m
- Suchitepequez region
Angel and Irma Yatz Xol live in the village of El Cedro, nestled in the mountains above Livingston on Guatemala’s Caribbean Coast. Of the Q’echi indigenous group, their grandparents arrived in the 60’s and 70’s to escape conflict in the highlands, where they have lived as subsistence farmers primarily from slash and burn corn.
Upon learning of the international value of cacao back in 2017, Irma took the initiative to fill nursery bags and buy seed for their first 800 cacao plants with the help of their five children, led by their eldest son Jayron. With the change in land use from slash-and-burn to cacao agroforestry, the Yatz Xol family notes an increase in their income, as well as a reforested landscape, as the cacao is intercropped with native timber species such as caoba (mahogany), laurel and El Cedro, for which his village is named
Angel and Irma found their market with Cacao Source through Sean Dixon-Sullivan, founder of Contour Lines, a nonprofit that supports agroforestry projects now with over 110 communities around Guatemala. Sean first went to El Cedro in 2019 to train Angel in pruning of his young cacao plantation, and shortly after began planting projects with more members of his villages, now totaling 19 families planting 7,500 legume trees and 1,856 fruit trees.
- Selected local criollo hybrids
- Fermented 10 days in small wooden boxes covered with banana leaves
- Family-owned isolated land
- Surrounded with wilderness
- Altitude 50m
- Izabal region
- Proximity with Caribbean front
“Panan” comes from the vocable “Pa Nana” which means “for the mother” from the Tz’utujil “Nana” for the mother or the woman space holder.
Neighbor to Chicacao the village of Panan was probably an ancient place of devotion to the sacred feminine, before colonization. The Name “for the mother” in an ancestral Cacao producing region lets us guess that in ancient times there may have been certain altars and ceremonies specially dedicated to feminin and motherly entities in the area. As it was often the case in Cacao forest in that region, where cacao was commonly associated with goddess figures.
Jose Luis Ovalle, Alba Laeticia and their daughters Alba Dalila and Mariza Maribel are our main contacts from this family collective. The family owns two medium parcells nearby the village, in the middle of a big patchwork of small parcels owned by many different families. They have a beautiful understanding of social ecology and its issues in the region. We believe they could have a great influence and play a role of exemple in their neighborhood. And that is why we decided to start supporting them. Also in the hope of supporting more farmers around them, before they are tempted to sell their lands to the monocrop industries.
- Selected criollo hybrids
- Fermented for 6 days in buckets
- Family collective
- Small landowners
- Semi wild fruit forest
- Altitude 700m
- Suchitepequez région
Cacao with Values
Information sharing is a key to reestablish the full nutrition, economic and environmental potential of cacao. Our Ecotours give you the opportunity to visit cacao farms to experience the origin of your cacao. You can also learn how to make healthy artisan chocolate from scratch joining one of our Workshops.
Delicious chocolate for social justice
We believe in the power of equity. Our production models provide job opportunities to more people. We also help communities to improve access to nutrition, provide tools for environmental restoration, and develop skills rooted in local tradition.