Hello and good day!
98% of the world's chocolate, maybe more, starts out with some variation of the photo above. It is thrown carelessly on the ground to dry under the sun.
We took this picture maybe 14 years ago. When we took the picture, the owner of this cacao was nowhere to be found. He threw his cacao on a dusty tarp on the side of the road and went on to handle other business.
Bugs and animals and dirt from the road surely got all over it.
Near the road, to the right of this tarp, there was an orchard filled with cacao trees growing yellow pods. It is very likely that this is pure Nacional cacao, the same cacao we use in our chocolate.
However, if we were to run cacao processed in this way through our supply chain, the chocolate would come out terrible.You would taste the poor fermentation and the haphazard drying.
It is hard to describe the taste of poor fermentation and drying. It is funky and highly acidic. In a simple two ingredient chocolate, you can taste it very easily.
Sometimes it is so bad as to make the chocolate inedible. That is why a lot of times you see 10 or 15 ingredients listed on a dark chocolate package.
The bad flavor needs to be covered up.
There is one core reason why cacao farmers do this with their cacao. They aren't being paid enough to do it right. And that is a shame, because there is a lot of potential in that cacao. It just needed somebody to come along and recognize the value and be willing to cultivate it's wonderful natural qualities.
With the potential fully developed, the cacao's value to the world justified higher prices and more exposure. And this kicked off a positive, self-reinforcing cycle.
There are a lot of things like that in life. The potential is there, but the care and cultivation are missing.
We had a very interesting customer in the shop a few days ago. She started a not for profit finding homes for rescue dogs. In particular, she mentioned to me that she buys a lot of pure bred dogs from breeders who aren't able to sell off an entire litter.
Apparently, there are some pretty cold blooded breeders out there. If this customer doesn't show up to buy the dogs, they all get executed and she told me that the living conditions are very poor. But she does what she can to keep that from happening.
As a result, a lot of these dogs end up becoming valuable companions and family members for people who want a good dog.
There are a million examples out there of untapped potential.
And as long as there is untapped potential in the world, there is still purpose and meaning waiting to be discovered and cultivated. No matter what is going on, there is always some way to make the world a better place. You can always find something underutilized and bring it into use.
Anyhow, I am running out of steam on this one now.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!