"Chuncho" Cacao: The Inca Heritage in Every Sip
Deep in the Cusco Valley of Peru, surrounded by the majestic heights and shadow of the ancient Inca capital, grows a treasure that has stood the test of time: Chuncho cacao. Every sip of our 100 percent Chuncho cacao takes you into a world where the secrets of the powerful Inca culture come to life.
Not far from the impressive citadel of Machu Picchu, the rarest varieties of Chuncho cacao have survived the test of time. Considered by cacao scientists to be the most flavorful in the world, these beans aren't just a culinary marvel. For our growing partners, they are a symbol of their rich culture and tradition, just like the majestic Andean condor, which the Incas believed to mediate between worlds.
Chuncho Urusayhua: The father of Fine Flavour Cacao
Chuncho is not just any cacao. This variety is a testament to history, confirmed by researchers as a distinct genetic group and often referred to as the "father" of fine cacao. Despite their small size - less than 1g per bean - these cacao beans are known for their high fat content, which gives them a rich and intense flavor. Our Cusco 100% Drops are a testament to the uniqueness of this cacao, which has never been enjoyed in its purest form before.
When you immerse yourself in the world of Chuncho cacao, you will not only experience a taste that is second to none, but also a piece of living history and culture. Buying this cacao is not only a pleasure for the palate, but also a contribution to the preservation of this ancient cacao wonder and its guardian, the mighty condor.
More than just “organic”.
Organic certifications are very helpful, but they paint a very simplistic picture. Healthy ecosystems are much more than just the “organic” label of a product. In the end, an organic label says little about the health of the soil, biodiversity and the quality of life of the farmers. That's why it's worth taking a closer look. Only mixed forest cultivation is a truly sustainable agricultural economy for all living beings.
Mixed forests protect biodiversity in the rainforest
The Maya Mountain Research Farm, a pilot project for permaculture research in Belize, has counted over 150 different bird species in its mixed forest. Not nearly as many animal species can find protection in conventional monocultures. Mixed forest systems, also called permaculture, can be used anywhere in the world. The permaculture movement is gaining traction among farmers around the globe. And that is hardly surprising. Permaculture saves farmers a lot of work and allows them to plan decades into the future.
Mixed forests secure farmers’ income
Imagine you are a cacao farmer and have a monoculture of cacao beans. They are therefore all you can sell. At least a few tons of cacao beans every year. But now imagine that the world market price for cacao, which is traded on the stock exchange, crashes. Suddenly you may have lost money instead of making money this year. You have to take out a loan in order to continue doing business.
Or worse: Imagine your cacao trees getting sick. Suddenly you can only harvest 50% of your harvest, but you even have more costs because of pesticides (for cacao that is not organic). You are facing bankruptcy.
On the other hand, if you run a mixed forest farm, you can still sell your vanilla, or your bananas, or your coffee, or your nutmegs... You get the idea: There are (almost) no limits to the possibilities. So which system would you choose - monoculture or mixed forest?
It's a no-brainer, because only mixed forests create a sustainable economic climate for producers of tropical export goods.
How mixed forests keep soils healthy
Soils are sensitive ecosystems that have evolved over tens of thousands of years. They are full of nutrients. If only a single plant species is grown on a soil system, only certain nutrients are removed from the soil. When this happens, the missing nutrients have to be added artificially as fertilizer.
Of course, there are no artificially produced fertilizer nitrates in nature. Nature has developed a sophisticated ecosystem in which one type of plant provides another type of plant with exactly the nutrients it needs to survive. It is precisely these symbioses that are tried to be used in mixed forest cultivation.
Mixed forests generate higher income and more stable food security for farmers
The Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) compared mixed forest systems with conventional monocultures in a long-term study over 20 years. What did they find out? In comparison, the organically managed mixed forests achieve the lowest yield of cocoa per hectare - but overall, the farmers can achieve a higher income and more stable income security. They are less dependent on international price fluctuations or crop failures because they grow a wide variety of products. You can find the study here .