cacao origin profile: ciaab (bolivia)
The Central Integral Agroecologica de Alto Beni (CIAAB) cooperative is located in the Palos Bancos, Alto Beni region of Bolivia. CIAAB is dedicated to creating a unified organization ofdiverse agricultural producers, and has helped to revolutionize the cacao industry in Bolivia. By partnering with Ivalsa coffee, a coffee exporter based in Bolivia and Massachusetts, CIAAB has been able to establish a relationship with US chocolate makers. Taaza Chocolate helped paved the way, but they've since branched out to small batch makers like us at Raaka Chocolate.
The climate in the Alto Beni area of Bolivia is hot, damp, and rainy—the perfect environment to grow quality cacao plants. The farmers hand sort the expertly fermented and dried cacao seeds ensuring that the finest beans are shipped to their partner companies in the US.
In October 2013, CIAAB completed the Alto Beni Cacao Co. project, which has expanded their company and made a positive impact on the cacao industry in Bolivia. This state of the art cacao fermentation plant and nursery was built with the help of Ivasla Coffee and Taaza Chocolate. It has substantially increased the production of the coop’s high quality Bolivian cacao plants, growing revenue and helping to establish CIAAB as a preeminent producer of cacao.
CIAAB cacao beans are a hybrid variety, a unique combination of Forastero and Criollo beans. This type of cacao has a deep, rich, full-bodied flavor.