The beans you select for making your chocolate, is the most important decision you will make as a chocolate maker that will determine if your chocolate comes out good and enjoyable or literally unpalatable. Not only is it important to select beans that are of good quality, but it is also very important to select beans that have been ethically sourced. Above I have included the names of four companies that we either use or are highly respected and commonly used to source fine cacao for the craft chocolate industry. You can visit each of these company's online to learn more by clicking on their logo above.
Our business model is focused on utilizing Venezuelan beans so most of our cacao comes from Cacao Marquez, a Venezuelan cacao producer start up from Maracaibo, Venezuela. With Venezuelan beans you have to very careful when sourcing. Venezuela is known around the world for their fine cacao, but ever since the economic crisis hit the country, many Venezuelans have tried getting into the industry as a source of earning foreign currency that don't know what they are doing and the result is cacao that is unusable for craft chocolate due to the poor quality. Cacao Marquez's cacao is superb and we love it. You will pay a fair price that is well deserved for a job well done. We love craft chocolate so much that we started another brand, Bulldog Chocolate, that highlights the flavor profiles found in other areas of the world. For our other origins, we typically use Chocolate Alchemy because they sell great quality cacao and offer small quantities. Many of the larger craft chocolate companies use Uncommon Cacao and/or Meridian Cacao for sourcing. We have used Meridian for Cacao Butter and they also sell small quantities if you are just starting out. We haven't used Uncommon Cacao but many craft chocolate makers do and as of the time I am writing this, they only offer quantities of one sack or more; which may be way too much cacao if you are just making chocolate at home or are just starting a farmers market size business.
All of these companies are fairly source their cacao from the farmers they work with. Cacao Marquez works directly with a group of farmers in Venezuela for sourcing the harvested beans and they then do the post harvest fermentation and drying themselves. Uncommon Cacao and Uncommon Cacao make it very convenient for sourcing because they work directly with the farmers and producers in various countries to insure fair compensation and high quality cacao and also take care of the importing so that all you have to do is purchase from their imported stock available in the US. We hope that this information is helpful for you and that you explore each of these cacao suppliers information I have provided to learn more.