Our delicious Copalli Cacao is made by infusing roasted organic cacao nibs in our white rum. But the journey of the cacao is a fascinating one that demonstrates the commitment of the Copal Tree Farm to organic and sustainable practices.
Two kinds of cacao seedlings are used to grow the cacao tree: the criollo, sought for its delicious flavor, and the trinitario which is known for its disease resistant root stock. Rather than use pesticides to protect against insects or disease, workers at
The Copal Tree Farm graft delicate criollo seedlings onto the hearty trinitario root. Then the seedlings are returned to the shade where they will develop and subsequently be planted.
When the pods develop, into maturity they are a deep purple or orange color on the outside. Inside, they contain a number of seeds which are covered by a juicy white pulp called baba. The baba has a mild citrus flavor.
The first step is fermentation. The seeds are placed in crates. Over the course of seven days, the heat from the sun interacts with naturally occuring enzymes and bacteria and ferments the baba. During the week, the seeds in the boxes are turned by hand, which exposes the seeds to more oxygen.
The liquid which drains from the boxes is collected and often is used in salad dressings.
Following completion of the fermentation process, the seeds need to dry. This process is carefully managed, because if the seeds dried too quickly they could become bitter. The seeds are spread over hand-built screens which allow the seeds to be pushed out into the sunshine and returned to the shade. This happens each day for about two weeks until the seeds are fully dried and can be roasted. After roasting the nibs are removed from the shells and are either infused into the rum or crafted into our hand-made chocolate.