Rosa Perez, cacaologist in Ecuador
What is your role?
I have worked with Kaoka since the creation of its Ecuador program in 2000. I first contributed to the agronomic research work of André Deberdt around varietal selection to safeguard Nacional cocoa. I am now the Quality Manager of the Kaoka program in Ecuador. Every week, i inspect the quality of the cocoa bean samples, coming from all the growers’s associations.
How do you control the quality of cocoa?
I shell, roast and grind the samples of cocoa beans and then taste the cocoa mass obtained to determine their aromatic profile. It is on the basis of these sensory analyses that Kaoka blends the batches of cocoa beans to compose the best cocoa mass. It’s the same principle as in oenology!
Where do cocoa aromas come from?
Depending on the origins, varieties and climate, cocoa beans have different characteristics. Kaoka is conducting a major Nacional cocoa conservation program in Ecuador, in association with the growers. It is a traditional variety with truly exceptional aromas,which features very floral notes, such as jasmine or rose.
The fermentation and drying of cocoa beans are also essential stages in the development of the precursors of cocoa aromas. They require real know-how. With Kaoka, we have set up precise drying and fermentation protocols, based on our research work. Kaoka backed the funding of the infrastructures necessary for the processing of cocoa in optimal conditions. During harvest periods, technical teams check that these stages are carried out according to guidelines.
Varietal selection and cocoa processing are fascinating topics!We continue our research because we can always do better!