Xoco is the first producer to offer single variety, single origin, fine flavour cocoa in volume. Our vision is to transform the world of cocoa production, and to maximise the fantastic flavour potential that the beans can bring to chocolate.
The fact that we have pioneered this revolution in flavour and quality is a matter of great pride and satisfaction to us.
Xoco is a privately held company focused on supplying high- end cocoa beans to chocolatiers all over the world. The company operates in Central America (mainly in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua), and is currently looking at more projects both in this region and in Eastern Africa. To realise our quality-focused vision, we had to reinvent the industry from scratch. In 2007, when we started the company, we travelled to Central America and roamed the forests to identify those cocoa trees with the potential to produce the best gourmet beans.
Surprisingly, when we did the research, we found that flavour cocoa was almost extinct in Central America: only a few hundred old trees were left. The best of these were selected as “mother trees”, which later formed the basis of our massive reproduction programme: the largest cocoa grafting operation in history. Traditionally, cocoa has been the “poor man’s crop”: underpriced and undervalued, with little work being done to improve the flavour derived from the beans. This is hard to believe given that, as with any food, flavour matters so much.
In fact it is said that chocolate stimulates more taste sensors than wine. We want to revolutionise the industry using grafting to achieve only the best flavours. In this way, we can preserve a facet of cocoa production that was almost lost.
Over time, several hundred farmers – or "outgrowers" – have made exclusive partnership contracts with Xoco, and have planted their fields with fine cocoa tree varieties from our nurseries. Since 2007, we have carefully grafted each and every one of the new trees now harvested by our farmers. The farmers are very passionate about, and committed to, the Xoco project.
Typically, the farmers invest 20 to 30 per cent of their land in planting the young cocoa trees. We guarantee all our farmers a good deal and provide technical assistance for the productive lifetime of the trees.
For 30 years he has grown coffee but, since 2008, he has been planting fine cocoa to diversify away from a low-priced commodity product.
All his life he has been producing black beans and corn. In 2010 he planted a small lot with fine cocoa.
Has grown low-altitude coffee all his life. In 2010, he planted two hectares of fine cocoa with Xoco.
On his 150cc motorcycle, he makes three to five farmer visits a day, assisting with pruning and giving advice on drought protection, drainage and other cocoa-farming matters. He also organises the collection of beans in the area.
Produces passion fruit and trades coffee, as well as running his fine cocoa orchard.
Used only to produce coffee, but has recently entered into milk production. He also planted a small fine cocoa farm with Xoco trees in 2010.