Mono Bravo 68%
A Cocoarunners subscription box choice. Their expert tasters say:
“This single-origin, micro batch Dark 68% bar is formed of organic Nacional Venezolano Amarillo cacao, which has been awarded a spot in the World Top 50 Cacao of Excellence. Expect gorgeous notes of treacle toffee, baked red fruits and nuts to linger on the tongue.
These special beans from Mono Bravo, Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador, have a mild, creamy and distinctly nutty flavour profile. They make a delicious buttery 68% bar with very little acidity or astringency.
The Esmeraldas Province lies at the southernmost point of one of the most threatened and least known rainforest ecosystems on earth – the Chocó. Esmeraldas cacao is sourced from Mache Chindul, the last coastal cloud forest of Ecuador which feeds all major rivers in the region and is home to a huge variety of plants and wildlife, including the Imbabura Tree Frog and the Mache Glas Frog.
Already, 85 small rural communities have settled inside the nature reserve and add to the deforestation, caused by logging and slash and burn practices. However, the remoteness of Mono Bravo guarantees that their heirloom Arriba Nacional cacao remains unaffected by Ecuador’s boom in hybrid cocoa. This gives them exceptional heirloom chocolate, and the chance to preserve the other gifts of nature in Mache Chindul.
Interwoven throughout 280 hectares of mountainous cloud forests are farms growing this traditional cacao. These Ecuadorian farmers pride themselves on their old-grown Arriba Nacional, preferring to ferment their beans in bags covered with banana leaves to reduce acidity without losing the rich textures and flavours.
The expert cacao sourcers I work with have partnered with Original Beans to provide local training in organic agro-forestry, post-harvest handling, and quality control. On top of getting paid for their cacao, farmers also get a premium for preserving the rainforest that falls on their land, incentivizing them to protect the rich biodiversity of the Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve.
Bean variety: Arriba Nacional
*Vegan, gluten free