While there is debate about what exactly is the birthplace of cacao, the region of Ecuador is believed to be the place where it all started.
For over 5,000 years, cacao beans have been used in this region, for worship and to consume as a beverage, or to serve as currency. Today, the majority of cacao grows in West Africa, and so this region gets much more attention from the cacao industry. But, most quality cacao still comes from South America. It is a source of income, and a source of life, for more than a million farming families on the South American continent.
The light bulb moment
Inspiration comes when you least expect it! Pacha de Cacao founder, Marika, was on one of her many expeditions through the Ecuadorian rainforests when she had a simple conversation that changed her life.
Cacao farmer José, with whom she was walking trough the farm, noticed that she was growing a little tired and offered her some fresh cacao pulp to eat, “it is good for you. It will give you energy that will make you feel better” he said.
That’s when she realized the industry had always neglected the sweet pulp and focused on the beans, to make chocolate from. What can we do with this amazing pulp that only the farmers themselves seemed to realize the value of? Imagine the nearly 4 million liters of that delicious, sweet pulp, draining into the soil every year! Something had to be done!
‘the cacao industry
revolved around the
beans, not the pulp.’
Ecuador was the right place to start. A country whose agricultural history is so closely tied with that of cacao. Ecuadorian cacao has a unique flavor, which makes it a one of a kind juice.
As it turns out, Marika’s existing relationships with local farming families, and colleagues working in the cacao industry, proved to be very helpful during the lengthy process of discovering how to take that magical cacao pulp from the beans and turn it into Pacha de Cacao. An adventure that lasted almost 3 years. Our bright brand design is a tribute to the colors, history and ancient traditions of South America.
From fruit to bottle
Once the cacao fruit is opened, it is an extremely delicate process to get every single drop of goodness into each Pacha bottle. After many experiments, we have the winning recipe, though we are always improving it!
We are working hard to grow Pacha de Cacao; to expand our farmer network to other regions, and even other countries, so we can continue to make a positive impact in the lives of the families we work with. We would like to work with smallholder farmers who live far away in the rainforest, disconnected from cacao value chains, as this is where our impact will be highest. We dream about Pacha being known around the world; known for our innovative and high quality products, and for our love and commitment to people and planet.
… and the journey continues!