Introducing Sierra Leone Cacao
Our commitment to Africa Deepens. With great excitement and anticipation, we are finally ready to present a new single origin cacao source that we have been testing and tasting for the past six months. Introducing cacao from Sierra Leone, West Africa and the farmers from the Gola Rainforest. These beans are incredibly smooth and nutty, which lend themselves perfectly for a creamy and chocolatey experience, while the farmers and farming practices that produce these beans tell an incredible story of social uplift, agricultural regeneration, and environmental sustainability.
The Gola Rainforest is Sierra Leone's largest rainforest and is inhabited by lush greenery, expansive views, and a multitude of wildlife that call this forest their home. This forest alone supports over 330 species of birds, 49 different species of mammals, and offers protection to over 60 of the worlds most threatened species. Unfortunately, this region has been exploited heavily in the past for its rich wealth of diamonds, gold, and iron ore, which is what makes the story of our partnering cacao farmers and other protection groups even more important.
The alliance of farmers that grow and produce these special cacao beans represent a movement towards environmental sustainability, transparency, and the above fair treatment of cacao farmers. They are called the Goleagorby Cocoa Producers Organization (GCPO), which translates as “We who live in the forest.” This is an organization containing 1871 farmers, all of whom inhabit the very edge of the protected Gola Rainforest. These farmers are specially trained in agroforestry skills which promote the growth and habitat of endangered species such as certain birds, butterflies, and chimpanzees. The way they sustainably incorporate cacao trees along the edge of the forest, work in alliance with other environmentally-focused groups, and farm specially for habitat conservation allows the forest to remain a national park while producing incredible tasting cacao in the same region.
Additionally, this group has created huge progress for the betterment of farmers by introducing price control and transaction history, which up until now have been mostly undocumented and out of the farmers' control. The new traceability has given these cacao producers greater buying opportunities, better training in harvesting and post-harvest practices, and has allowed them to be fairly compensated for their crop.
We are beyond honored to be partnering with these farmers as we incorporate these beans into our line of chocolate bars. You’ll find these beans to be reminiscent of other African origin cacao, which are still making a name for themselves in the world of specialty chocolate due to the poor infrastructure and outdated reputation among chocolate buyers. High-quality African cacao does exist, and so much potential and positive change can be created by partnering with these types of farms.