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Central America Cacao Flavour Catalogue

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Central America Cacao Flavour Catalogue

  1. 1. Flavour Catalogue: Central American cacao Explore the richness and quality of Central American Cacao
  2. 2. Introduction 5 Connecting Central America 6 Why source from Central America? 8 Types and characteristics of Central American cacao 9 Producing regions of Central American cacao 11 Methodology 12 Steps of the methodology 13 Physical evaluation of the bean samples 16 Obtaining cacao liquor 18 CBI Flavour profiles 19 Guatemala 20 San Marcos 21 Quetzaltenango 22 Alta Verapaz 23 Escuintla 26 Petén 28 Izabal 29 El Progreso 30 Contents Connecting Central America | 3 Honduras 31 Atlántida 32 Colón 37 El Salvador 39 Usulután 40 San Vicente 45 Sonsonate 46 Nicaragua 49 Matagalpa 50 RACCN 55 RACCS 58 Jinotega 59 Costa Rica 60 Alajuela 61 Heredia 63 Limón 65 Puntarenas 67 San José 68 Panama 69 Bocas del Toro 70 Conclusions 78 Acknowledgements 80 Sources 81
  3. 3. Introduction
  4. 4. About CBI CBI connects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets with the European market, in order to contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The CBI is part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and is mainly funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Within the framework of the Central American Regional Economic Integration (INTEC) project, which is financed primarily by the European Union and coordinated by SIECA, the EU and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands signed a cooperation agreement to jointly promote the advantages for Central American SMEs of the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America. In this context, CBI executes the initiative “Connecting Central America” to support 60 Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives from Central America, between 2018 and 2022, in becoming (more) competitive in the European market. For more information: https://www.cbi.eu/projects/connecting-central- america and https://www.facebook.com/connectingcentralamerica Connecting Central America Working together for sustainable development Are you interested in discovering new markets? The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) connects you with reliable, high-quality suppliers equipped to do business with European partners. With the Connecting Central America initiative, CBI helps SMEs and cooperatives be more competitive in the European market. The initiative is co-financed by the European Union (EU) and coordinated by the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA, per its Spanish acronym). Connecting Central America | 6 About the Cacao & Chocolate project CBI supported 8 carefully selected cacao and derivative companies and cooperatives from Central America. Each of these companies has received individual coaching from a CBI sector expert and developed an individual export marketing plan. Together with Central American Business Support Organizations, EU trade fairs like Salon du Chocolat, Paris have been visited and the companies had the chance to exhibit their products at CHOCOA, Amsterdam. During the global COVID crisis, when onsite trade-fairs where reduced, online trade-fairs have been organized in order to present the participating companies to EU buyers. A series of trainings was conducted about a relevant issues like the EU market entry, sensorial evaluation of cacao and chocolate, optimization of the post- harvest processes, implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR), successful trade-fair participation, digital marketing, access to finance, organic fertilization and productivity. The companies now offer a diverse range of high quality cacao and derivative products – buyers are welcome to explore their global award winning products: Fine flavour cacao beans Outstanding premium chocolate bars Chocolate for innovative cacao drinks including the natural cacao butter Cacao mass and couvertures without and with inclusions Natural cacao butter Cacao powder Cacao husks Nibs
  5. 5. About SIECA The Central American Economic Integration Secretariat (SIECA) is the entity in charge of promoting efforts to gradually reach the economic union of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. With this, SIECA fulfills its objective of expanding the development options of the region and establishing closer links with the international economy. SIECA is based in Guatemala City and is the technical secretariat of the Council of Economic Integration Ministers (COMIECO) and the Council of Transport Ministers (COMITRAN). More information: www.sieca.int About the European Union This project is co-funded by the European Union. The EU is a unique peace and solidarity project in the world, associating 27 Member States with values of freedom, democracy and solidarity. At the regional level, in Central America, the EU promotes the implementation of the Association Agreement between our two regions, accompanying the protection of human rights, including gender equity; supports matters of security and rule of law; it contributes to mitigation and adaptation to climate change and promotes employment, trade and investment. Find more information on Twitter: @UECentroamerica and Facebook: #UEenCentroamerica Connecting Central America | 7
  6. 6. Connecting Central America | 8 Why source cacao & its derivatives from Central America? What makes Central America and its cacao & chocolate sector so interesting for European importers? In addition to the strong regional development, suppliers from Central America have been entering European markets with fine flavour quality and certified products, offering a very reliable supply. In addition to guaranteed supplies, Central American exporters are loyal to their customers and interested in building durable, long-term relationships with their clients. • Certification Cooperatives and private companies offer certified fine flavour cacao, some with organic certification / BIOSUISSE, fair trade / FLOcert / Small Producer Symbol and UTZ / Rainforest Alliance / B Corp. • Premium chocolate bars Selected companies also process and offer derivatives such as nibs, liquor and couverture, including premium chocolate bars with openness to produce private label products. • Unique fine flavours Cacao growers and exporters in Central America count on a of the great genetic cacao variety and increasingly focus on sensorial evaluation of their cacao quality. By optimizing the post-harvest process, they enhance those unique fine flavours, premium chocolate brands are looking for. • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) Many businesses throughout Central America already have corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices in place and benefit farmers they work with and their families. Cacao farming can have a very positive socioeconomic and environmental impact, this can make a remarkable difference for the communities. CBI helped to promote these efforts and get the message across to customers. • Reliability is one of Central American suppliers’ unique selling points. Buyers can rely on producers to establish long lasting supply chains with consistent quality. The Central American producers are professional exporters and they are used to working with European buyers.
  7. 7. Connecting Central America | 9 Types and characteristics of Central American cacao Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) is a historical and migratory crop that grows in several regions of the world. In Central America the crop continues to have strong religious, cultural, social and commercial linkages, dating back to the pre-Columbian period. The Central American region is closely associated with the domestication and expansion of the species, with one of the main centers of production being the territories of southern Mexico, the Pacific region of Guatemala and El Salvador (Soconusco and Izalco). Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that the origin of cocoa diversity is attributed to two main regions: the Amazon region and the circum-Caribbean region; within the latter, three sub-regions are established, one of them being Mesoamerica (covering Mexico and Central America). Central America and the Caribbean are mainly characterized by varieties of the Criollo type, which have the Curaray group as a common ancestor. These materials were introduced from South America, mainly from the state of Mérida and/or Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. However, due to the periodic effects of natural disasters and hurricanes that constantly occurred in the Antilles, the need arose for the introduction of new genetic material for sowing, among them the Amelonado, Calabacillo, and Nacional or Arriba types from Ecuador introduced in 1861. Together with the existing Criollo seeds, this significantly increased the genetic diversity of the species and created a favorable atmosphere for natural or artificial hybridization between the different groups. Two of the criollo seeds mentioned are the Theobroma leiocarpa and the Theobroma pentagona. These varieties predominated for a long time in the region. Thanks to taking advantage of this genetic resource in breeding and conservation programmes, pure and ancestral populations are still preserved in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Saint Lucia and the West Indies. Whereas the Amelonado group is represented by the Matina cacao, its name derives from the region where its cultivation began in 1610: on the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica, spreading widely from there. There are also indigenous hybrid populations still prevalent in the region, such as the cross between Amelonado and Trinitario known as the Indio Rojo (Red Indian), native to the Honduran coast.
  8. 8. Connecting Central America | 10 Types and characteristics of Central American cacao In international markets, Central American cacao is considered as high-quality and aromatic cacao. This is not only due to the inheritance of criollo and natural hybrid cacao, but also to the introduction of materials coming from the breeding programmes initiated in 1930. One of these is the UFc (United Fruit Co.) variant that is a hybrid of the Criollo, Amelonado and Nacional varieties. Another large number of genetic types such as Trinitarios and Amazónicos were safeguarded in the creation of the International Germplasm Collection of IICA in 1944. This is a Treasury that is still in force, today known as the International Germplasm Collection (IC3) of CATIE, located in Turrialba, Costa Rica, with a replica on the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica. Finally, towards the 1970s with the initiatives led by CATIE, copies of numerous clones present in the Collection (IC3) were provided to the countries of the region. These included the UFc (United Fruit Co.), Pound, IMC (Iquitos Mixed Calabacillo, Peru), Catongo, SCA (Scavina) materials from the upper Amazon and new introductions of hybrid materials from Trinidad and Tobago called ICS (Imperial College Selections, Trinidad and Tobago). From all these materials, the countries have established their own collections, as well as clonal gardens for the production of hybrid seed used in various plantations. In 2008 CATIE released 6 trinitario-based clones, productive, with tolerance to cacao moniliasis (Moniliophthora roreri) and with high-quality and aroma potential, which have had a rapid diffusion in Central America through a network of clonal gardens established in 6 countries in the region. All this rich genetic diversity, together with the genotype combinations by environment and plantation management, suggest that there is a richness of differentiated aromas and flavors of cacao in the region. This great diversity will be illustrated through this catalogue, which will be a very useful tool to help the visualization, promotion and possible marketing of the beans. Central American countries might not have the capacity to compete in terms of volume, but they certainly have a lot to offer in terms of niche differentiation. And this very niche differentiation brings about an improvement in the living standards of those who cultivate the beans. Written by: Vianney de Abrego Adriana Marcela Arciniegas Leal
  9. 9. Connecting Central America | 11 Producing regions of Central American cacao Guatemala Honduras Nicaragua El Salvador Costa Rica Panama
  10. 10. Methodology
  11. 11. Connecting Central America | 13 Steps of the methodology With the goal of creating a catalogue presenting the most important and representative regions of cocoa production in Central America, 60 samples from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama were evaluated to describe their flavor profiles using the following methodology: Focus groups Selection of regions and samples Postharvest handling of samples Sample data Shipment and processing of samples Sensory evaluation Selection of the tasters Flavour profiles Flavour catalogue
  12. 12. Connecting Central America | 14 Steps of the methodology Focus groups For each country, a focus group was formed, composed of organizations involved in cacao supporting the selection process of participating regions and samples. Among them were ministries of agriculture and trade, promotion offices, universities, research centers and producer organizations. Selection of regions and samples The focus groups of the corresponding country selected the regions and representing samples based on evaluations and prior engagement in competitions. Postharvest handling of samples The postharvest process of each samples was carried out according to the standards developed in each region by organizations and producers. The samples sent had to be free of defects. Sample data A format was created for the data registration of each sample. This includes information on the producer, the crop, and postharvest data.
  13. 13. Connecting Central America | 15 Steps of the methodology Shipment and processing of samples The bean samples were sent to the laboratory of the CENSALUD institute of the University of El Salvador, in San Salvador. Here the beans were processed and cocoa paste or liquor was obtained. The cocoa paste samples were sent from the laboratory to each of the selected tasters. Flavour profiles With the data obtained from the sensory evaluation, the sensory profile was constructed using a circular diagram of Cocoa Of Excellence Program for each sample, as well as its qualitative description of perceived attributes. Sensory evaluation Samples were sent to the previously selected tasters in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala Honduras and Nicaragua. The evaluation was conducted virtually using the methodology of the International Standards and the Cocoa of Excellence Program. Selection of the tasters Trained and experienced tasters were recruited from the participating countries. Their resumes were evaluated, they were interviewed and their performance was evaluated in a calibration. Flavour catalogue The Central American Cacao Flavour Catalogue was composed with the information obtained in the previous steps.
  14. 14. Connecting Central America | 16 Physical evaluation of the bean samples The quality assessment of the bean samples was carried out following the International Standards for the Assessment of Cocoa Quality and Flavour (ISCQF) available at https://www.cocoaqualitystandards.org/. The following steps were performed: Selection of the subsamples for analysis One kilogram of the sample was extracted by means of dividing the two-kilogram sample. Coding of subsamples The samples were coded with random three-digit codes. They were kept in airtight containers to avoid contamination by humidity and odors. Physical evaluation of the samples Steps continue on the next page.
  15. 15. Connecting Central America | 17 External analysis of the bean The external characteristics of the beans were evaluated according to the ISCQF External Analysis and Cut Test of Cocoa Beans protocol. The perceived odor, whether typical or atypical, and the external appearance of the beans in terms of homogeneity and color were recorded. Sifting, residues and foreign material The percentage of residues such as shells and placenta, flat beans, multiple beans, foreign material and insect remains were weighed and calculated according to the protocol for Measuring Cleaning Losses and Counting Cocoa Beans. Evaluation of beans without defects In the sample of 300 cut beans, the beans without defects were weighed for their appearance and color characteristics. The percentage and average of well fermented and partially fermented beans were determined according to protocol. Evaluation of whole bean cutting The bean cutting test was carried out according to the External Analysis an d Cocoa Bean Cutting Test protocol, cutting 300 beans and classifying them by appearance and color. Bean index and moisture content The bean index was calculated by weighing 100 beans in three replicates and averaging the results. The moisture content of each sample was measured by three subsample measurements and, again, averaging the results. Evaluation of beans with defects The number of beans with defects was recorded and the percentage was calculated. Defects were considered: moldy beans, slaty beans, beans damaged by or infested with insects and germinated beans. Determination of the pH-level The pH of each sample was determined using 3 subsamples. The husk was removed to process the cotyledon and measure the pH.
  16. 16. Connecting Central America | 18 Methodology for obtaining cacao liquor The sample preparation was carried out following the protocols of the International Standards for the Assessment of Cocoa Quality and Flavour (ISCQF). • Refining and cacao liquor production The cocoa nibs were pre-ground in Cocoatown's STEALTH cocoa mill and were added to a melanger from the brand Spectra little by little. The grinding temperature did not exceed 50 °C and at the end the cocoa liquor particles had a size of 30 microns. Subsequently, the liquor was molded in polycarbonate molds. Samples of 20 grams were then placed in labeled screw-top jars to be sent to each taster. • Cooling The beans were cooled using a CocoaT Cooling Tray-Micro from the brand Cocoatown. • Obtaining cacao “nibs” Each sample was grinded using a CocoaT power Cracker from the brand Cocoatown. Subsequently, the husk was separated using a Cocoa Winower, according to the protocol for Liquefying Cocoa Nibs into Liquor. • Roasting Each sample was roasted using a CocoaT jr Roaster PI roaster oven from the brand Cocoatown, following the ISCQF protocol for Roasting Cocoa Beans. Image: The cacao beans are being carefully roasted following the ISCQF protocol.
  17. 17. CBI Flavour profiles
  18. 18. Cacao producing regions of Guatemala most to least producing (dark to lighter coloured) Transversal del Norte Region: A. Petén B. Quiché C. Alta Verapaz D. Izabal Boca Costa & Costa Sur Region: A. San Marcos B. Quetzaltenango C. Retalhuleu D. Suchitepéquez E. Escuintla Connecting Central America | 20 Guatemala 🇬🇹 The Guatemalan cacao production is home to two broad regions: the Transversal del Norte Region and the Boca Costa and Costa Sur region. • The latter comprises the entire southern coast of Guatemala and has the ideal climate for growing cocoa. However, cacao can also be planted in other areas such as Petén and Izabal. These departments lie in the formerly mentioned Transversal del Norte Region and have an altitude of 800 meters above sea level, which gives the cacao its distinct taste. • Guatemala, producing mainly the Criollo and Trinitario varieties of cacao, belongs to the select group of fine cocoa producers, which symbolizes the type with the highest economic value due to its quality, aroma and flavor attributes. • The average national production is 500 kilograms per hectare. It is estimated that the region Transversal del Norte is responsible for a production between 260 to 800 kilograms per hectare, whereas the coastal regions account for a range from 309 to 700 kilograms per hectare.
  19. 19. Connecting Central America | 21 Finca Nahuatancillo, San Marcos, Guatemala This sample is characterised by fruity aroma. The initial taste is acidic with notes of fresh dark fruits and citrus fruits. It presents balanced core attributes, complexity in complementary attributes with spices, nut and wood. The cacao note has been developed well with notes of light and dark wood and nut.
  20. 20. Connecting Central America | 22 Finca San Agustín, Ixtacapa, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala This sample has an aroma of cocoa and acid. Initially notes of caramelized fruits are perceived, then astringency and medium bitterness appear, giving way to notes of dried fruit and caramel, notes of light wood and tobacco. On the finish the astringency is velvety.
  21. 21. Connecting Central America | 23 Cacao Verapaz, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala This cacao is characterised with an acid smell. The initial taste is dominated by acidity. It presents notes of fresh citrus fruits and plums, a low intensity of dried fruit, light wood, astringency, and nutty flavour at the end.
  22. 22. Connecting Central America | 24 FEDECOVERA, Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala Cocoa and spice aromas. Bright initial acidity. Astringency, herbal and olive notes, fresh fruits such as berries and tropical fruit that stand out, nutty and woody notes stand out a bit. Complex, smooth and creamy.
  23. 23. Connecting Central America | 25 Fundalachua, Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala This sample has an acidic and herbal aroma. It presents a bright initial acidity, is astringent and has a bitterness that stand out and gives way to notes of citrus and tropical fruits. It is nutty, herbal, light woody notes in low intensity.
  24. 24. Connecting Central America | 26 Hacienda Madeira, Escuintla, Guatemala The smell of this sample is characterised with cocoa and acid. It has a light color. the initial taste contains an intense fruity acidity. It has characteristic notes of fresh fruits such as berries and citrus, a low intensity browned fruits, low floral, wood, tobacco and nut, and a soft presence of caramel notes. Finally, it is very clean.
  25. 25. Connecting Central America | 27 Corporación Maracuya, Escuintla, Guatemala This sample has cocoa and tamarind aromas, an intense acidity at the beginning, medium astringency. In the middle there are fresh fruity notes of citrus and dark fruits such as cherries, notes of browned fruit and nutty that stand out. In the aftertaste, wood and spices are perceived in low intensity.
  26. 26. Connecting Central America | 28 NATURKAKAO, Petén, Guatemala Herbal and citric aroma. Initial bitter and astringent flavor that then gives way to notes of caramel, white fruit and walnut skin and woody. Notes of raisins and tropical fruit and ripe fruit.
  27. 27. Connecting Central America | 29 Kampura, Izabal, Guatemala Cocoa and herbal aroma. Balanced basic attributes with moderate base cocoa flavour, herbal and wood resin notes that stand out and persist, fresh fruit notes (citrus, berry and tropical), spice notes, nutty and caramel notes on the aftertaste. The sample is complex and unique.
  28. 28. Connecting Central America | 30 Finca el Zapotillo, El Progreso, Guatemala Cocoa smell, initial flavor notes of browned fruits and fresh fruit like banana. Core attributes in balance. Lingering fruity notes, caramel, spices (vanilla), wood and nutty. Very fruity. Complex.
  29. 29. Connecting Central America | 31 Honduras 🇭🇳 Cacao has historically been produced in the western region of Honduras, near the Guatemalan border. Over the last 15 years, government and private-sector programs have expanded cacao production to the north and east of Honduras, increasing the cacao production in the country. • The relatively recent producing Atlantic (Caribbean) coast of Honduras turned out to have the ideal climate for growing cacao. The country annually exports about 1500 tonnes of cacao of which the region of Cortes produces most. • Honduras is known for its small-scale producing. 80% of the estimated 4000 cacao producers grow less than one hectare of land. Cacao producing regions of Honduras most to least producing (dark to lighter coloured) A. Copán B. Santa Bárbara C. Cortés D. Atlántida E. Yoro F. Comayagua G. Colón H. Olancho I. El Paraíso J. Gracias a Dios
  30. 30. Connecting Central America | 32 El Recreo, Atlántida, Honduras Chocolate and caramel smell. Light color. Bright initial acidity, basic attributes in balance, notes of nuts, fresh fruits such as berries and tropical fruits. Presence of spices that stands out accompanied by wood and caramel. Nutty finish. Balanced and clean.
  31. 31. Connecting Central America | 33 ASOPROPIB, Santa Ana, Atlántida, Honduras This sample presents a chocolate, herbal and nutty aroma. Cacao, bitterness and astringency balanced, acidity in low intensity. Notes of caramel that highlight with nut, herbal and tobacco notes, -complementary attributes that show complexity-. Herbal and earthy floral notes are perceived on the finish. Overall, it is a sample with an unique character.
  32. 32. Connecting Central America | 34 FHIA/CEDEC-JAS, La Masica, Atlántida, Honduras The initial acidity stands out. The sample contains notes of fresh fruit such as citrus and tropical fruits. Dried fruit is present in low intensity, notes of aromatic herbs in a very low intensity. The cacao is balanced with a nutty and chocolaty finish.
  33. 33. Connecting Central America | 35 La Masica, Atlántida, Honduras This sample is characterised with a caramelized aroma and a light color. It has a low intensity of cocoa, nutty notes are present from the beginning, and additional characteristics are a soft and velvety astringency, fruity notes and caramel. In the complementary attributes floral notes, wood and spices are perceived. It is very smooth with an intense and persistent nutty finish and caramel. Overall the cacao is balanced.
  34. 34. Connecting Central America | 36 COPRACAJUL, Jutiapa, Atlántida, Honduras This cacao is characterised with chocolate, caramel and floral aromas. it has a velvety astringency that stands out and lingers. It contains notes of grapefruit, herbal that stand out, light wood, walnut and walnut skin, and hints of caramel.
  35. 35. Connecting Central America | 37 ASOPROC, Colón, Honduras Cocoa and slightly spicy aroma. Bitter flavor that stands out from the start along with characteristic notes of citrus fruits and berries, browned fruits, woody and nutty notes. Balanced, light coffee and floral notes.
  36. 36. Connecting Central America | 38 Paguales, Zamora, Colón, Honduras Cocoa and herbal aroma. The initial taste are notes of cocoa that stand out along with bitter and astringent in low intensity. Notes of dark fresh fruits and wood, dried leaves, and nutty at the end creating a full mouthfeel. Ripe fruit finish.
  37. 37. Connecting Central America | 39 El Salvador 🇸🇻 Although the crop originates in the region, cacao production in El Salvador has been very limited in terms of production over the last decade. Recently, private and public investment have boosted production. Today, in almost every region cacao is produced. • El Salvador has recognised its potential to produce high quality, specialty cacao. Farmers have come to realise that cacao is a viable alternative for coffee growers that have been affected by coffee rust. By reactivating cacao, the country can generate the necessary employment that can help reduce illegal immigration and increase the livelihoods for farmers. • Recent numbers show a total cacao production of 475.1 metric tonnes. The department of Sonsonate, located on the fertile coastal region, account for 123.6 metric tonnes of the total, being the region with the highest production. A. Ahuachapán B. Santa Ana C. Sonsonate D. La Libertad E. San Salvador F. Cuscatlán Cacao producing regions of El Salvador most to least producing (dark to lighter coloured) G. La Paz H. Cabañas I. San Vicente J. Usulután K. San Miguel L. Morazán
  38. 38. Connecting Central America | 40 Hacienda La Carrera, Usulután, El Salvador This sample contains aromas of cocoa and citrus fruits. The citrus notes are perceived at the beginning and then highlight notes of browned fruits. Walnut accompanied by caramel-panela. It is smooth, balanced in basic and complementary attributes and clean.
  39. 39. Connecting Central America | 41 Cooperative ACOPROST, Jucuapa, Usulután, El Salvador Nutty and caramel aroma. Herbal notes are perceived at the beginning that persist along with cocoa and nuts flavor. Highlights brown fruit, wood and nuts. Balanced. Lingering nutty notes at the aftertaste. Harmony in all attributes.
  40. 40. Connecting Central America | 42 Cooperative ACODESMOVI, Puerto El Triunfo, Usulután, El Salvador This sample has a candied banana aroma and an intense and pleasant dehydrated banana flavor. It is smooth and balanced. Also, it is balanced in core attributes; notes of brown fruits and dates, caramel, a consistency and softness in texture, and nutty notes at the end.
  41. 41. Connecting Central America | 43 Finca Los Ángeles, Usulután, El Salvador This sample has a cocoa scent and notes of cocoa and walnut that fill the mouth. It is greasy, balanced with a low intensity core attributes. It is characterised by its lingering nutty notes, woody, smooth and balanced. Overall it is in harmony / balance.
  42. 42. Connecting Central America | 44 Finca La Alpina, Jucuapa, Usulután, El Salvador Nutty and toasted nuts aroma. Notes of cocoa and candied fruit at the beginning. Balanced basic attributes, fruity notes of fresh and browned fruits such as apricot, light wood, and nutty highlights. Complex, balanced, clean.
  43. 43. Connecting Central America | 45 Finca Parras Lempa, San Vicente, El Salvador Fruity and chocolate aroma. Marked initial acidity with notes of citrus fruits and intense nutty, notes of dried fruits, wood, caramel and low spices such as pepper. Nuttiness and acidity on the finish. Clean, smooth and well balanced.
  44. 44. Connecting Central America | 46 Cooperativa Barra Ciega, Sonsonate, El Salvador Cocoa and fruity aroma. Bright initial acidity, berries fruit notes, nutty flavor with low intensity, floral vegetal notes with complex composition. Creamy, balanced sample with low intensity of attributes.
  45. 45. Connecting Central America | 47 Finca Chiquihuat, Nahulingo, Sonsonate, El Salvador Cocoa and fruity aroma. Bright initial acidity along with notes of fresh fruit. Notes of sweet nuts and citrus fruits, persistent and low intensity resin. Sample with unique characteristics.
  46. 46. Connecting Central America | 48 Finca Comalapa, Caluco, Sonsonate, El Salvador Cocoa and nutty aroma. At the beginning notes of cocoa, fresh and brown fruits stand out. The sample presents notes of fresh and ripe fruit, nutty notes. Furthermore, it presents a hint of caramel and is round, balanced and clean.
  47. 47. Connecting Central America | 49 Nicaragua 🇳🇮 Nicaragua is working hard to develop itself as a fine flavour producing country. The country’s cacao is on the rise concerning global demand and production, since its cacao is sought out by particularly craft chocolate makers. • Producing approximately 0.3% of the global cacao supply, it is unlikely Nicaraguan cacao will be produced on a mass scale. The cacao demonstrated in this catalogue is not mass scale either, rather it is sought for smaller-batch single- origin chocolate. In 2015 there was a vested interest drawing chocolatiers and chocolate makers to Nicaraguan cacao, simply because it was different, and a newer origin for most producers. • Similar to other Central American countries, Nicaraguan cacao is mainly produced along the Atlantic (Caribbean) Coast. The RACCN department accounts for 1171 tonnes of exportable cacao, of which a large part is certified. Cacao producing regions of Nicaragua most to least producing (dark to lighter coloured) A. Jinotega B. RACCN (Northern Caribbean Coast) C. Matagalpa D. RACCS (Southern Caribbean Coast) E. Río San Juan
  48. 48. Connecting Central America | 50 Cooperativa Flor de Pancasán, Matagalpa, Nicaragua Cocoa aroma. Moderate initial astringency giving way to fruit notes of berries and cherry, dried fruit, earthy floral, dark wood and nutty. Balanced attributes and moderate intensity.
  49. 49. Connecting Central America | 51 La Campesina, Río Blanco, Matagalpa, Nicaragua This sample is characterised by an aroma of dried fruit, cocoa and cocoa butter. It is bitter at the beginning with notes of dark fruits such as plums and tropical fruits. It is resinous, woody, and demonstrates a taste of dry herbs. It has a chocolatey aftertaste and is persistent with a velvety astringency. Green herb, wood and walnut skin. *Astringency quality
  50. 50. Connecting Central America | 52 Coop Flor de Dalia, La Dalia, Matagalpa, Nicaragua Citrus fruit aroma. Initial notes of acidity and astringency persistent but not aggressive. Hop bitterness, herbal notes, hints of brown fruit and tamarind, woody, fruity and nutty notes on the finish. Nutty finish. Balanced.
  51. 51. Connecting Central America | 53 Cooperativa Ríos de Agua Viva, Rancho grande, Matagalpa, Nicaragua Cocoa and herbal scent. Initial notes of berries and tropical fruits that mingle with notes of moss, dark wood and nuts such as cashew. Smooth, creamy and with good combination of attributes.
  52. 52. Connecting Central America | 54 COMUVEMAR, Siuna, El Limón, Matagalpa, Nicaragua This sample contains citrus fruit and chocolate aroma with initial notes of cocoa. Balanced bitterness, astringency and acidity. Characteristic notes of tropical, browned fruits and nuts. Low notes of caramel and spice. Significative nutty notes. Overall, it is balanced.
  53. 53. Connecting Central America | 55 COPESIUNA, RACCN, Nicaragua This sample has an acid odor very mild. It contains a low intensity of basic attributes. Floral notes can also be detected in a low intensity. It has notes of walnut and honey, and notes of dried leaves. Finally, it has a low intensity of wood and caramel.
  54. 54. Connecting Central America | 56 Cooperativa Nueva Waslala, Waslala, RACCN, Nicaragua Chocolate and floral aroma. Basic attributes are in balance, soft herbal notes at the beginning along with cocoa and berries notes, nutty notes during tasting, not intense but persistent, balanced and clean.
  55. 55. Connecting Central America | 57 Cooperative CACAONICA, RACCN, Nicaragua This sample has an cocoa and panela aroma. Initially, it has a cocoa flavor and presents notes of fresh fruits like berries and dark fruits. It also presents notes of brown fruits (like dried plums), it is woody and nutty. Overall, the notes are in good balance.
  56. 56. Connecting Central America | 58 UCA-Ahmed Campos, Nueva Guinea, RACCS, Nicaragua Cocoa and nutty aroma. Notes of cocoa and spices that stand out at the beginning. Notes of fresh fruit and brown fruit that stand out, presence of nutty notes and dark wood. Caramel is perceived at the end. Balanced and smooth on the aftertaste.
  57. 57. Connecting Central America | 59 Cooperative Nueva Esperanza, Jinotega, Nicaragua Cocoa aroma. At the beginning bitter and astringent that provides body. Notes of fresh and brown fruits and low intensity of wood and walnut. At the end highlight the cocoa flavor.
  58. 58. Connecting Central America | 60 Costa Rica 🇨🇷 Although cacao is produced in almost all provinces, Costa Rica knows three principal cacao producing regions: the Huetar Caribe, Huetar Norte and Brunca Region. • In 2019, the International Cocoa Organization recognized the quality of Costa Rican cacao. The country is considered an exporting country of 100% fine or aroma cacao produced in rural communities from the north to the south of Costa Rica. The vast majority of the cacao production takes place at an altitude between 0 and 500 meters above sea level, which is the ideal habitat for cacao. • The province of Limon has the highest production numbers of the country: 301.5 metric tonnes of dry cacao are produced every year. Next in line is Alajuela with 280 metric tonnes. Followed by Puntarenas (51MT), San José (12MT) and Heredia (7.5MT). Cacao producing regions of Costa Rica most to least producing (dark to lighter coloured) Huetar Norte Region A. Alajuela B. Heredia Central Region A. San José Huetar Caribe Region A. Limón Brunca Region A. Puntarenas
  59. 59. Connecting Central America | 61 Maleku Chocolate S.A., Upala, Alajuela, Costa Rica Cocoa and nutty aroma. At the beginning there is a nutty and cocoa flavor, notes of fresh fruits, the basic attributes are balanced, herbal and woody notes of low intensity. Nutty flavor at the end. Balanced, smooth and creamy.
  60. 60. Connecting Central America | 62 Sibaeli, Guatuso, Alajuela, Costa Rica This sample has a ripe fruit aroma. It presents a bright initial acidity with fruity notes of berries and citrus, presence of brown fruit and wood. The cocoa note stands out along with dried plum and nutty flavor. In the end, chocolate flavor predominates.
  61. 61. Connecting Central America | 63 Cacao Nahua, Heredia, Costa Rica This sample has an aroma of ripe fruit. It also presents notes of ripe fruit. It has a soft acidity, notes of plums, and a bitterness that increases and persists without disguise. It presents notes of dried fruits and herbs and unctuous. It has a good cocoa base without being intense. The aftertaste contains nutty notes.
  62. 62. Connecting Central America | 64 Los Arcos, Heredia, Costa Rica Chocolate and caramel aroma. Initial flavor of bright cocoa, well balanced basic attributes. Notes of nuts and fresh fruit such as berries and panela. Presence of woody notes, spices and caramel. Creamy consistency.
  63. 63. Connecting Central America | 65 CAC Matina, Limón, Costa Rica Cocoa aroma and low acidity. Balanced basics, notes of fresh and dry fruit that stand out but of low intensity, wood and walnut. Smooth.
  64. 64. Connecting Central America | 66 Asociación de pequeños productores de Talamanca, Talamanca, Limón, Costa Rica Cocoa and fruit aroma. The basic attributes are balanced, at the beginning the cocoa flavor stands out, fresh fruit such as citrus, berries and tropical and brown fruit are present in slight intensity. Notes of wood and spices are perceived and at the end, nutty and caramel notes stand out. Balanced. Lingering nutty finish. Clean.
  65. 65. Connecting Central America | 67 OSACOOP, Puntarenas, Costa Rica This cacao presents a caramel and chocolate aroma. Initially, acidity stands out. The sample is balanced in the basic attributes. It presents notes of brown fruits, in the middle part light notes of jasmine. Furthermore, tobacco, herbs and notes of almond and walnut stand out.
  66. 66. Connecting Central America | 68 CoopeAgri R.L., San Isidro, San José, Costa Rica This cacao has soft aroma of caramel and cocoa. At first, notes of cocoa and dried fruit are tasted. Notes of wood, forest and moss stand out and light acidity of lemon and lemon peel. At the end, this is complemented with soft nut and almond.
  67. 67. Connecting Central America | 69 Panama 🇵🇦 Panama has a unique advantage when it comes to cacao. It has the potential to supply a significant amount of high-quality fine flavoured cacao ánd it can take advantage of the logistical in-country infrastructure that supports the Panama Canal. • Cacao cultivation in Panama began in the early 17th century. However, agricultural development of the crop did not begin until the 19th century when part of the banana plantations were replaced by cocoa. From the beginning, fine aroma varieties of the Trinitario group of varieties were planted. • The vast majority of Panamese cacao is produced in the highlands of the region Bocas del Toro. For the agricultural year 2020-2021 the region accounted for 545 tonnes of cacao. For comparison, the region next in line is Colón with just 8.32 tonnes. Cacao producing regions of Panama most to least producing (dark to lighter coloured) A. Bocas del Toro B. Veraguas C. Colón D. East Panama E. Guna Yala
  68. 68. Connecting Central America | 70 Quebrada Pastor, Almirante, Bocas del Toro, Panama Caramel and cocoa aroma. At the beginning of the tasting it is perceived as bitter and astringent that disappear later. The sample presents fresh fruits notes that stand out, herbal attributes with nutty and wood very noticeable. Caramel, dried fruit and spices present in the sample. There is good balance between the attributes.
  69. 69. Connecting Central America | 71 Comunidad Quebrada Pitty, Almirante, Bocas del Toro, Panama Cocoa and dried fruit aroma. Notes of bitterness and acidity that appear at the beginning and then give way to notes of cocoa and fruity acidity with balanced basic attributes. Notes of dried fruits and fresh fruits. Nutty notes such as almonds and light intensity of herbal and wood notes.
  70. 70. Connecting Central America | 72 Valle Rey, Almirante, Bocas del Toro, Panama Cocoa and caramel aromas. Astringency is perceived at the beginning together with herbal and cocoa notes. Notes of dark fruits, herbal that stands out and persists, walnut skin and white wood and caramel with hints of malt.
  71. 71. Connecting Central America | 73 Comunidad SIEYIC-Naso Teribe, Changuinola, Bocas del Toro, Panama This sample has a herbal odor. The initial field herbs flavor is accompanied by bitterness and astringency. Although the astringency is present, it is not overpowering. It is balanced in the basic attributes with herbal notes persistent to the finish. It contains wood and nutty notes in good combination. It has a chocolate finish that lingers.
  72. 72. Connecting Central America | 74 Comunidad San Tigra, Bocas del Toro, Panama This sample contains a low intensity of cocoa aroma and a light forest-like aroma. It contains cocoa and a bright initial acidity with notes of fresh fruits and dark fruits (plums) that stand out. It contains very soft notes of citrus and passion fruit. Additionally, notes of dried fruit, a low earthy floral note and wood are present. It has a nutty and chocolaty finish.
  73. 73. Connecting Central America | 75 Comunidad Valle de Risco, Almirante, Bocas del Toro, Panama This sample has an acid odor and acid flavor at the beginning. This acidity lingers joined by notes of red fruits and citrus fruits such as lemon peel and grapefruit and a low intensity dried fruits and nuts. Light wood, short. Caramel notes at the end.
  74. 74. Connecting Central America | 76 Comunidad Milla 5, Changuinola, Bocas del Toro, Panama Cocoa and citrus aroma. Initial berry flavor and citrus notes that stand out. Mix of fresh fruits, notes of dried fruits, wood, spices and nut in balance. Herbal and bitter dark chocolate finish. Creamy. Harmonious.
  75. 75. Connecting Central America | 77 Comunidad Nvo Paraíso, Almirante, Bocas del Toro, Panama Cocoa and floral aroma. Basic attributes of low intensity and balanced. Notes of citrus and banana, brown fruits, walnut and hazelnut and wood at the end. In general presents softness in the flavors.
  76. 76. Conclusions
  77. 77. Connecting Central America | 79 This catalogue is a guide that showcases the flavour potential of Central American cacao and demonstrates the diversity of the cacao flavour characteristics. The support for this catalogue was provided by Business Support Organisations from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The flavour profile of cacao produced in the main cacao-producing regions of 6 Central American countries was obtained. Through the characterisation and flavour profiles it can be shown that there is a great diversity of cacao flavours. The samples were found with complex, unique, harmonious, clean profiles that demonstrate the quality potential of the region. Conclusions
  78. 78. Acknowledgements We would like to thank the following organisations and persons for their assistance with the collection and evaluation of the samples that represent the flavour of cocoa from Central America countries. First of all, the tasters: ● Caritas de El Salvador: Héctor Mauricio García Escobar, ● Mesa Dulce Chocolatería: Juan José Arévalo Cortez, ● Cacao Verapaz S.A /Uncommon Cacao: Roy Wilhen Fraatz Lopez, ● Cacao Verapaz S.A.: Nikte' Alejandra Cú Chén, ● Rikolto: Percy Ac-Pangan, ● Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola –FHIA-: Aroldo Dubon, Héctor Aguilar, Elsa Geraldina Machado Díaz, Elvin Ovidio Ávila Flores, ● Asesoría y Servicios en Producción Agroindustrial (ASEPRA): Miguel Ángel Romero Castellón, ● CBI consultant: Nubia Martínez Guerrero Secondly we would like to thank all the Business Support Organisations that made this happen: ● Costa Rica (PROCOMER, MAG, CATIE), ● El Salvador (PROESA COEXPORT , ● Guatemala (AGEXPORT, MINECO) ● Honduras (FHIA), ● Nicaragua (APEN) ● Panama (PROPANAMA, MICI, Social Cacao) Furthermore we would like to thank Universidad de El Salvador and CENSALUD Institute for preparing the samples, all the producers that prepared the samples in the field, everybody involved in all stages of the process and the producers families for being part of this project. Connecting Central America | 79
  79. 79. Sources Guatemala https://www.prensalibre.com/economia/guatemala-produce-cacao-de-primera-calidad-y-se-analizara-en-un-nuevo-laboratorio/ https://www.maga.gob.gt/download/estrategia-ca20.pdf https://aprende.guatemala.com/cultura-guatemalteca/cinco-datos-curiosos-sobre-el-cacao-que-se-produce-en-guatemala/ Honduras https://www.uncommoncacao.com/blog/2022-6-8/cacao-miskito-honduras-uncommons-newest-offering El Salvador https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1862/Fact_Sheet_-_El_Salvador_Cacao_Cocoa_Alliance.pdf Nicaragua https://www.worldwidechocolate.com/shop-by-country/cocoa-bean-origin/nicaragua/ Costa Rica https://thecostaricanews.com/cocoa-is-the-ancestral-treasure-seeking-to-resurface-in-costa-rica/ Panama https://agronosotros.com/why-cacao-and-why-panama/ https://www.chocolatesmaua.com/en/panama/ Connecting Central America | 80
  80. 80. CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries) Postal address P.O. Box 93144 2509 AC The Hague The Netherlands Visiting address Prinses Beatrixlaan 2 2595 AL The Hague The Netherlands +31 0886024300 contact-us@cbi.eu www.cbi.eu Working together for sustainable development Within the framework of the Central American Regional Economic Integration (INTEC) project, which is financed primarily by the European Union and coordinated by SIECA, CBI implements the project “Connecting Central America” to support 60 Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives from Central America. This brochure has been produced with the financial support of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of CBI and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

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