Unlike other premium chocolate brands that purchase raw cacao but don’t know where it comes from, MATER’s sourcing process is vastly different. MATER works directly with the producers, developing strong relationships, visiting them before and after harvest, and buying from single fields owned by families that have grown and harvested the fruits of their land for generations. While others might have access to state-of-the-art machinery and production facilities but lack exquisite cacao, MATER superiority is supported through its access to the best cacao producers in the world.
Turning cacao into chocolate is a time- and labor-intensive process that starts on the cacao farm. The process begins by researching the best cacao producers and visiting multiple farms in the Cusco region of Peru to test the cacao before a single producer is chosen.
During each farm visit, the team tours the plantations, collects photographic materials, conducts interviews with the growers, and completes sensory evaluations of the cacao beans available for purchase. The evaluation measures and classifies the beans and performs a cut test and sample roast and refining of the beans.
Farm visits are an important component of the sourcing relationship development process and maintaining a strong working relationship favors better bean quality. During our visits to the Puma Champi Family’s plantation in Quillabamba, a high-altitude forest, we tasted two bean samples from the spring harvest and chose the batch whose rare sensorial qualities stood out.