What’s the Deal with Single Origin Cacao?

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When it comes to chocolate, there are a lot of terms that get tossed about. It’s easy as a consumer to get confused or to just blindly assume that the more phrases and certifications a chocolate bar has on the package, the better it is. The reality of course, is that the more phrases and certifications a chocolate bar has printed on the package, the more expensive it is.

To make it simple, this blog post will focus on single origin.

Single Origin is a pretty straightforward term. It’s often used with chocolate and coffee, though you might see hints of it with wine.

The backstory: Most chocolate on the market today comes from cacao grown in select few places in the world. The majority of the world’s cacao is grown and harvested in Africa (specifically The Ivory Coast), with other beans coming from South America, Indonesia and a handful of other locations around the Equator.

Farmers in these regions harvest and dry the beans and send them on their merry way around the globe. From there, the beans are ground, milled and refined to make couverture (blocks or wafers of finished chocolate). It’s usually at this stage that many chocolatiers around the world create the end products you enjoy eating such as truffles, bars and bark.

Now, back to single origin. Beans grown in Peru have a different flavor characteristic than beans grown on the Ivory Coast. Blend them together, and you have yet another flavor profile. Take some beans from Indonesia and you now have quite the melting pot (pun definitely intended).

In short, single origin means the beans are from one region. Obviously, this costs more money for the producer, and chocolate purists who feel it makes a great difference in taste & quality will opt for single origin beans. It’s also a great way to track exactly where the beans are from, and food traceability is very important in today’s world. If you know where your beans are coming from, you can easily trace them in the rare event of a recall. You can also monitor the farms more closely to make sure they are employing fair and safe labor practices.

But to the casual, or even avid chocolate eater, single origin probably doesn’t mean all that much. If you like the taste of a chocolate bar, you most likely enjoy it for what else has been added to it, or what hasn’t been added to it, rather than where the beans were grown.

In short, single origin doesn’t change the health content of the cacao nor does it necessarily mean you’ll find the taste more appealing. It also has nothing to do with work conditions, inspections or politics. If you like knowing where your beans are grown, and enjoy the taste of one chocolate source over another, then choosing a single origin cacao product might be worth the extra expense to you. It’s a personal choice, and now that you have all the facts, you can make an informed decision.

We choose to work with a manufacturer that has assured us they deal personally with small family farms to ensure their beans meet the highest standards. And at Barkeater Chocolates, we track & log every ingredient received and assign lot numbers to every product we produce to ensure we are putting out a quality product. We trust that you choose us for the FlavorWow™ taste. So enjoy your chocolate!!