Latest news from the Farm El Porvenir, Guatemala!

Latest news from the Farm El Porvenir, Guatemala!

Laurent & Beronica: ‘Welcome to our farm in Alta Verapaz, in the north-east of Guatemala.


12 years ago we arrived at this abandoned coffee farm and we dreamed of having our own cacao farm. We started with a reforestation project to bring back life. We planted 250000 trees, which results now, 10 year later, in a full mountain covered with native plants, hardwood trees, fruits, flowers, butterflies, bees and animals. The cacao now grows happily in the shade in-between this biodiverse food-forest. Depending on season we also produce a great quality cardamom, lychees, mango’s, rambutan, jackfruit, all kinds of citruses, avocado’s and mangosteen!



When we arrived here 12 years ago one part of the farm was dry corn fields and one part abandoned coffee fields. 10 years ago we started to plant 3 layers of forests. The first layer was hardwood trees to create shade , the second cardamom or cacao and the third cover-crops to avoid erosion and to create a healthy soil.


Instead of using methods that would increase yield of the cacao trees, while negatively impacting the environment, we would rather supporting the growth by adding natural fertilisers when necessary, and allow the trees to produce on their own in the most natural way possible. The trees are grown from seed, rather than grafted, which means that every tree contains its own genetic make up and each tree is a different individual. We believe this is part of producing the highest quality cacao and chocolate. We are also actively engaged in selecting, storing and growing seeds from endangered criollo strains, thus protecting these heritage trees from being lost for good. 



Ceremonial cacao is distinct. From the selection of the seeds to the environment where it is planted , from the fermentation till roasting, the main intention is to produce cacao with increased natural and beneficial properties, you will feel it…



After harvesting the cacao we open the pods by hitting them on a stone, we take out the beans by hand. After that we cover the bottom of wooden barrels with banana leaves. Then we will fill the barrels with the cacao beans. The banana levels are the bottom to start the fermentation process, which will take up to a week. 



After fermentation the seeds are dried for approximately 7-10 days. After this we start roasting the cacao. 



Fire is very important in the cacao process. We still use the traditional Mayan way to roast the beans. After roasting the beans for around 10 minutes the skin will come off easier in the next step of the process. Besides that it will give this amazing taste and smell to the cacao! The mayan woman of our community have been roasting the cacao beans everyday in the last two weeks. It’s a job that requires a lot of patience and dedication.



Are we still using this machine? Yes this is the machine that we use to take off the skin from the nibs. The wheel is turned by hand(!) and was originally used for coffee processing. After this process we created a technique that will separate the nibs from the skin… Until now the whole process from seed to nib is without electricity. We believe that this creates a little magic around our ceremonial grade cacao.



The high quality comes from the ancestral processes of stone ground cacao to recapture its essence. Once the peeled beans have been toasted, we take our time to grind the cacao until the dust and paste form. It releases the aroma, awakes the senses and captures the natural ingredients in the beans, like cocoa butter. As a result of cacao criollo beans, the amassed ground cacao is already flavourful and less bitter than the other varieties.



We love our cacao so much because its delicious and at the same time a medicine. The most healthful effects of chocolate have been attributed to antioxidant procyanidins, flavonoids, tocopherols, and other compounds, leading to claims that chocolate can help fight hypertension, heart disease and cancer. It is established that cacao contains many antioxidants and that antioxidants have beneficial effects in stimulating the immune system and protecting against cancer and heart disease. 



We are giving back to the earth. The more cacao we can produce and share, the more our biodiverse forest will grow. The hill and slopes of Finca El Porvenir, rich with fauna and flora, are a service to our products but mostly ensure the longevity of growing ecosystems in the hope of motivating others into reforestation and sustainable agriculture!



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