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Tumbes

Source: Co-operative

Region: Northern tropical arid coast

Department: Tumbes

Elevation: 50-500m

Yearly Rainfall: ~465mm (18.3 inches)

Genetics: Native Nacional

Harvest Season: Oct – Jan (major); Jun – Aug (minor)

Tasting Notes: Sweet citric and fruity with nutty notes.

Fermentation Style: 6-7 days in Tornillo hardwood boxes; daily bean rotation after first 2 days.

Drying Style: 6-8 days – Sun then shade dried. On tarps and mesh drying shelves.

Tumbes Cacao Bean

This origin grows in the northernmost department of Peru called Tumbes. Due to this department’s tight borders with the department of Piura and the country of Ecuador, this bean shares similar characteristics to two of the world’s most prized bean origins, Piura White and Nacional, respectively, and expresses sweet citric and fruity flavours with nutty notes. Genetically speaking, however, the Tumbes bean has more in common with Nacional.

Like Piura White (and Nacional), this cacao is the result of trade and a process of adaptation that began millennia ago. Unlike Piura White, it’s cultivated in an area with slightly more rainfall which allows for more production per hectare and has proven to be a viable source of income for the over 300 farmers that work

these lands.

So, how did cacao get to the mostly arid coast, anyway?

The newly-accepted theory, as of the last couple decades, is that over 5,000 years ago the Mayo-Chinchipe-Marañón Amazonian cultures domesticated cacao. They then traversed the shallowest point in the Andes, called El Paso de Porculla, and engaged in trade with coastal communities—who evidently had great irrigation techniques and farming know-how because they helped cacao thrive in these tough growing conditions. In turn, those coastal communities engaged in naval trade with other faraway communities leading to cacao’s migration north into Central America and then onto the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia. 

So, thanks to the Mayo-Chinchipe-Marañón cultures and the coastal communities, cacao now grows in the arid lands of Tumbes. And thanks to Tumbes, you now have a fine-flavoured cacao harvested at sea level that’ll ensure the sky’s the limit for your chocolate creations.

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