Origin Story: Dominican Republic Zorzal Cacao

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Dominican Republic Zorzal Cacao has made a name for themselves. Founders of Moka Origins, Ishan and Jeff, travelled to the Dominican Republic upon invitation from friend and gracious host Maria-Luisa. During their stay, they were introduced to Zorzal and slept in their rainforest bird sanctuary and cacao demonstration farm, only to fall in love with this group of organic farmers at Reserva more!

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Origin Story: Cameroon Mt Oku Coffee

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Cameroon stole our hearts. For over a decade, Moka’s founders have worked alongside communities in different parts of Cameroon, slowly developing an understanding of the people and their values. read more! 

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As you may have noticed, we haven’t posted on our blog since the new year… but all for good reason. Because of you, those who love our products and our socially-driven mission, we have gained enough support to expand our chocolate and coffee production — which ultimately results in a greater social impact for our partners and farmers around the world. We would like to take this time to say, “thank you!” We have been humbled by all the support. Here's what we've been up to:

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2017 Stats: Let's Count The Beans

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Hey Friends,

2017 was quite a year and we could not have done it without you! Let’s reminisce about a few things!

We kicked off the year by gathering around a fountain of chocolate as we inaugurated our new production facility in Honesdale PA. We packed 200 people from all around the United States into our 1,200 sqft space and celebrated our farm-to-bean-to-bar social enterprise business model.

In Honesdale, our focus was dominated by our dream to perfect the art of small-batch coffee and chocolate. Meanwhile, 6,000 miles away on our farm in Cameroon, we entered our 3rd planting year- using agriculture as a vehicle to generate livelihood and community development.

From the northern mountains of the Dominican Republic to smallholder farms nestled underneath Mt Cameroon in Africa, our search for partners in coffee and chocolate remained steadfast. Today, we have strong bonds with our farmers and suppliers and are still creating more bonds as we move forward.

We’re amped as ever for 2018 and look forward to even more progressive shifts toward sustainability, social justice, and great coffee and chocolate.

What else did we do this year?

Let's count the beans...

  • 6,600 trees planted. Cacao, plantain, papaya and more
  • 4,300 ft of water pipe laid on our farm. We can now irrigate year round while providing clean water to our community
  • 2 important certifications achieved: Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade, with Organic pending
  • We won our 1st award - Innovator Of The Year for Wayne County
  • 5,080 cups of our Cold Brew were enjoyed
  • We shipped to 35 states as well as UK, India, Cayman Islands, and the Dominican Republic
  • 7,300 chocolate bars were poured and hand wrapped
  • 9,100 lbs of coffee moved through our roastery
  • We dished out 16,640 free chocolate samples on our weekly factory tours
  • 980 shots of espresso we're pulled and consumed by our staff

Not too shabby for year #1. But much more important than numbers were the human bonds that we built this year through distribution partnerships, weekly tours, and visits by individuals intrigued by the idea of a mission-driven product company.

For those of you whom we have not yet met, please let our coffee and chocolate do all the talking.

Many thanks!

Jeff Abella
Co-Founder and CEO,

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Origin Story: Cameroon Mt Oku Coffee

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Cameroon blog lead image.

Our partnerships with farmers to increase coffee yields and enhance market access started in Northwest Cameroon’s scenic Oku Valley, named for the tribes that live in the region. There, our coffee is grown at altitudes of up to 7,000 feet in the shade of orange, banana, and kola nut trees beneath the peak of Kilum Mountain, also called Mount Oku. Nearby Lake Oku provides the area’s crops with water and nutrients. The coffee we grow here is fully washed in fresh water on the day of its harvest. Farmers then dry it on raised beds in the shade of the forest's trees.

Jeff and Moka Origins Farmers hold sapling coffee plants.

This coffee crop provides a livelihood for many people living in Northwest Cameroon who are largely dependent on agriculture, especially coffee. With a population of over 130,000 people on remote and often difficult terrain, conscious practices of innovative, sustainable, and manageable agronomy are key. Northwest Cameroon’s lush, mountainous landscape is often challenging during the rainy season, but the plentiful resources it provides are well worth the struggle come harvest time.

A handfull of coffee cherries.

Within the forests of Mount Oku, the world-renowned white honey thrives as bees undertake most coffee pollination. The landscape and biome of the Oku Valley work together, with and for its people, who have in turn come to understand this land’s ability to give back in tremendous ways.

Vast mountains and valleys of Mt Oku region.

Many farms under Mount Oku range from only a half acre to 4 acres, but practicing ecologically sound and nuanced foundational farming techniques makes them mighty. Even though many farming practices in the region seem rudimentary by industrial standards, the foundational elements of proper pruning, soil and shade management, and processing techniques elevate the region’s incredible capacity for vibrant coffee production. With over 400 tons of washed Arabica coffee produced each year alone, Northwest Cameroon’s beautifully rich landscape truly delivers.

A team of female farmers at Moka Farms.

Moka Origins is proud to work with farmers in Northwest Cameroon to help them respond to the dwindling volumes of coffee produced in the region. Our collaboration brings us closer to achieving our goal of creating economic stability through sustainable sourcing practices and shows the importance of developing strong agricultural economies throughout the world. One small region can truly affect the livelihood of many.

Our Cameroon Mt Oku coffee is unmatched. This medium roast presents subtle notes of lemon with a sweet caramel finish. This rare, shade-grown bean is our flagship coffee and for over a decade, Moka’s founders have worked with farmers in the shadow of Mt Oku, where coffee is the lifeblood of most local families.

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