Öko Caribe: Cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic

Öko Caribe: Kakaobohnen aus der Dominikanischen Republik
The fact that Öko Caribe is no longer a newcomer can be seen from the fact that well-known makers such as Raaka, Dandelion Chocolate or Svenska Kakaobolaget regularly use cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic to incorporate particularly exciting, Caribbean flavor nuances into their chocolates . Anyone who has ever taken part in one of ourchocolate tastings or tried our 'Cool Beans' has most likely already enjoyed the Caribbean.

From Pimental to the world

Öko Caribe is located in the Dominican Republic, more precisely in the small village of Pimentel in San Francísco de Macoris. Like Kokoa Kamili , they buy freshly harvested cocoa beans directly from over 181 small farmers in the Duarte province. At Öko Caribe these are then fermented and dried. Öko Caribe then sends the processed and dried fine cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic to chocolate manufacturers all over the world.

Cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic: Organic Caribe Farmer drying the cocoa beans Öko Caribe founder Gualberto Acebey Torrejon and colleagues drying the cocoa beans ©Öko Caribe

Quality and transparency - cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic

Öko Caribe was launched in 2006 by the two founders Gualberto Acebey Torrejon and Adriano Acebey Torrejon. After both had worked for other organic cocoa producers for a few decades, they joined forces. Together they pursue the goal of improving the quality, transparency and local prosperity of cocoa farmers. Although they are active in a very competitive market - the Dominican Republic is one of the largest exporters of fine flavor cocoa worldwide - Gualberto and Adriano are equally valued and supported by international chocolate manufacturers, especially for their high quality standards.

At Öko Caribe, the secret of their success is in the details! They have developed a strictly standardized post-harvest process. This determines exactly how long the cocoa beans ferment (6 days), how often the cocoa beans are aerated, turned and how long they are dried. The latter happens in solar drying beds, where the cocoa beans dry for about a week to reach an ideal moisture level.

Less chemicals, more biodiversity

The soils in the El Cibao region - the center of Dominican cocoa production - are extremely fertile. The climate is tropical and there is plenty of rainfall: ideal conditions for the cultivation of (fine) cocoa beans. Like many other cocoa farmers who grow fine flavor cocoa beans, Öko Caribe's partners work with agroforestry. This means that they operate sustainable agricultural systems that promote biodiversity (i.e. species diversity) and healthy soils by practicing mixed farming. The cocoa trees are planted between large shade trees and other crops (such as avocados, bananas, oranges and much more). In this way, many diseases to which cocoa plants are susceptible can be avoided without resorting to pesticides or chemicals.

– Cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic: the organic cocoa beans are ready to be sent. The cocoa beans from Öko Caribe are ready to be sent. ©Uncommon Cocoa

This type of cultivation also means that the soil remains fertile for a long time. This avoids the clearing of other fertile soils. Unfortunately, this is usually the case, especially in conventional cocoa cultivation. Here cocoa farmers cut down rainforests on a large scale to get new fertile soil for cocoa cultivation. Most of Öko Caribe's cocoa beans are mostly Trinitario and Nacional (originally from Ecuador) and Criollo. It is harvested from March to July.

Think Global, Act Local

Gualberto and Andriano help local cocoa farmers to achieve a good balance between high yields and sustainability. They offer them further training in the areas of soil and harvest planning, reforestation and waste management. With their work, Öko Caribe would like to make a contribution to increasing the prosperity of the local economy. They not only help the cocoa farmers to get better at their work. They are also actively involved in improving public facilities. For example, they promote the preservation of local schools and the improvement of roads and transport routes.
We are pleased to offer several chocolates in our shop that are made from Öko Caribe cocoa beans. We love their fruity and nutty notes, which can be found in Raaka and Svenska Kakaobolaget chocolates, as well as in our ' Cool Beans ', among others.
More information about the cultivation of cocoa by Öko Caribe can be found on their Instagram account or directly on their website .

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