Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has launched an online map documenting flavor profiles of cocoa produced by the nonprofit humanitarian organization’s farmer and cooperative partners.
Unveiled at the Salon du Chocolat trade fair in Paris last week, the LWR Regional Cocoa Map will help cocoa producers in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras connect with cocoa buyers seeking particular flavors, profiles and characteristics.
LWR, with support from the World Environment Center (WEC) and U.S. State Department, as well as COSUDE (the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development), began this initiative more than a year ago in partnership with ZOTO, a Belgium-based cocoa consultancy, and in collaboration with the Guittard Chocolate Co. and Cocoa of Excellence.
Each of the more than 30 map entries lists the farmer or co-op, its location, the variety of cocoa produced, availability, processing methods and flavor notes. Farmers’ contact information is also included.
Zoi Papalexandratou, ZOTO lead cocoa advisor, said the map will open these Central American farmers and their cooperatives to the international cocoa market while highlighting the distinctive flavors of their cacao.
"The main scope of the project was to create a visual tool that illustrates the flavor diversity at the cooperative level, in some cases even at the cocoa blend level, as this was perceived through official tastings of the Cocoa of Excellence and project team," she said. "Such a cocoa flavor guide can help a chocolate maker select lots from different locations that express similar notes."
The map also allows chocolate makers exclusive access to special or micro lots that cover their exact needs, as well as increased knowledge, transparency and traceability of the whole processing process.