To read about our heroes please click on "our heroes" in the top menu.
WHY TO CHOOSE US?
WE BUY CACAO IN THEIR FARM ENTRANCE
The logistic cost in rural Colombia is extremely high. Our farmers live in mountains far away from the towns through hardly accesible roads. This is one of the reasons why intermediaries exist.
We come to each of our farmers farm and pick up the cacao as a fruit, assuming the logistic costs.
WE MAKE CHOCOLATE FROM THE POST-HARVEST
Ever wonder why cocoa butter is added to a chocolate bar when the cocoa bean alone naturally contains 50%-60% of cocoa butter?
It is added to hide off-flavors from poor post-harvest (or lack of relationship with farmers) like bitterness, astringency and acidity.
We do not need to do this as we control the fermentation and drying of all the beans in our bars.
WE ARE WORKING WITH AND FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE
We focus on impacting areas in Colombia which were heavily affected by war and are currently hurt by extreme poverty.
We do not buy cacao to big producers or small producers who grow cacao as an investment. We buy it from people whose only assets are their cacao trees and who dream of improving their quality of life with these.
WE EMBRACE THE CACAO BEAN TO MAKE HEALTHY PRODUCTS
We believe that respecting the cacao bean starts with recipes free of extra cocoa butter and where the only % of cocoa content comes from the bean, which is naturally full of antioxidants and other healthy compounds.
Our recipes use other healthy and specialty ingredients but start from the concept that to make premium chocolates you have got to work on producing top quality beans.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Unroasted cacao is never roasted and therefore it is not exposed to high tempertatures, preserving more of the heat sensitive antioxidants naturally present in the cocoa bean.
No, it is better.
Raw usually means that the chocolate was manufactured below 40 degrees celsius but the beans were roasted at this temperature.
It is the percentage of the recipe that comes from the cacao tree and its derivatives: cocoa beans, cocoa butter and cocoa.
It is not the % of cocoa beans in a bar but the sum of all cocoa derivatives.
– A 70% cacao bar containing cocoa beans as the only cocoa ingredient is 70% cacao beans plus 30% of the other listed ingredients.
– A 70% cacao bar containing cocoa beans and cocoa butter is not 70% cacao beans and 30% cocoa butter plus the other listed ingredients BUT 70% cocoa beans plus cocoa butter and 30% of the other listed ingredients.
Understanding the impact of cocoa butter in a real pure single origin is extremely important.
Although cocoa butter is not an unhealthy fat, we believe its impact in a real and pure single origin bar is negative.
First of all, it is counted in the % of cocoa content and it does not bring flavor complexity nor antioxidants.
Secondly, most cocoa butter is purchased from mass producing companies. Customers end up buy a 70% cacao single origin bar which contains a fraction of cocoa butter from a totally different origin. In this case, shouldn't the company discriminate the % of cocoa content really coming from the stated single origin?
Finally, cocoa is added to hide off-flavours from the post-harvest process. This shows the lack of direct trade and relationship with farmers. It is easy to receive beans in the factory and hide its deficiencies with cocoa butter. It is a much harder tasks to invest in the producing countries to ensure quality procedures.
We believe that adding cocoa butter as an extra ingredient and counting it along the cocoa beans in the % of cocoa content is slowing the pace at which our industry specializes and keeps the factories away from investing in a more sustainable and close relationships with farmers.
Coffee, golden berries and milk do not naturally have 50%-60% fat content like the cocoa bean which is 50%-60% cocoa butter.
In this case, adding these ingredients dries the chocolate blend and makes it impossible to be molded and stay compacted. Cocoa butter allows these ingredients to fit into the chocolate recipe.
100% unroasted cacao bar and 99.8% cacao with monk fruit.
All of our dark chocolate bars are vegan: 100% unroasted cacao, 99.8% cacao with monk fruit, 85% unroasted cacao, 80% cacao, 76% unroasted cacao, 70% cacao, 65% cacao with coffee and 56% cacao with golden berries.
Chocolate is naturally gluten free unless ingredients with gluten are added. It is not our case so all of our products are naturally gluten free.
Juan Choconat was literally born out of nowhere.
Juan and Natalia were working on launching a tech startup to connect entrepreneurs with their first customers and build their startups throught customer development when they decided to begin a chocolate company focused on helping small farmers to leave extreme poverty behind.
This abrupt change happened after they visited Juan's father in San Bernardo, Ibagué. Hernan, his dad, abandoned this farm for 8 years due to war and found it destroyed after coming back.
He decided to grow cocoa as an opportunity to recover the farm but after harvesting the first crop he became aware that costs were higher than market price.
"How are our neighbors going to surpass extreme poverty if they lose money all the time?" said Hernan to Juan and Natalia during that visit. "These are families who live in extreme poverty and are illiterate. They just sell at the price the buyer pays. They endured war during this decade and now they must endure an unfair trade".
This conversation gave birth to Juan Choconat and the #ResponsibleChocolate in 2014. Juan grabbed two 50kg bags of cocoa from his farms with and Natalia began to dream of becomin g the best chocolate company in the world to help small farmers.
After the first 2 years of paying 15% over market price, directly to farmers, and absorving the post-harvest and logistic cost, they realized that paying higher prices did not directly changed the quality of life of these farmers. It was then that the Responsible Chocolate concept was born.
It is not only about paying more money. Quality of life requires a more robust impact.
PAY HIGHER THAN MARKET PRICES
Juan Choconar has paid higher than market prices from its beginning. It started with 15% over market price and has evolved to 78% over market price in 2021.
This 78% over market price in 2022 was 34% over Fair Trade price.
EDUCATE AND MOTIVATE THE WHOLE FARMING FAMILY
Farming in Colombia and other developing countries has become less and less youth oriented. Many kids emerge from the countryside after graduating from school.
We originally thought this was because kids did not like farming and agriculture. We rapidly realized we were wrong. Kids loved agriculture but they thought is was a broken business.
We realized that we needed to show kids that we were bringing a prosperous and sustainable opportunity and there was no better way to do it than showing it through the direct relationships we had built with their parents.
In 2016, we graduated 38 kids with a technical degree in cacao with the support of our state university. The program taught students all the cocoa and commercial process and showed the economic profits of working with us. This motivated kids and many today work with their parents.
During 2021 we realized we needed to impact women more directly and their are our focus now. 93% of women in rural Colombia are not directly paid. We need to change this together.
PROTECT AND MULTIPLY CREOLO CACAO
This genetic variety only accounts for < 2% of the cocoa world population today.
It will lead the specialization of chocolate and bring the highest income to farmers thanks to its finest flavor compared to the other genetics.
We embarked in a quest to find creolo trees in our state and found 14 in 2018. These 14 are now close to 2.000 trees growing in our farm and will keep multiplying in the future.
100% ORGANIC PRODUCTION AND FULL TRACEABILITY
We believe that our customers will feel happier and pay higher prices if their products are clean and they can trace everything that happen to the cocoa bean that makes their chocolate bar.
This is why we buy cocoa as a fruit and make all the process: fruit to bar. All of our chocolates are made with cocoa beans fermented and dried by us. No other company has this level of direct trade and traceability.
At the same time, all of our farmers produce organically. At the beginning it was out of poverty and now it is out of conviction.
We will be USDA organic from 2023 after a long but reliable process.
TRANSFORM CACAO INTO HEALTHY PRODUCTS
Cacao is a superfruit.
Chocolate has been full of sugar for decades and is full of extra cocoa butter nowadays.
Even companies calling out weird ingredients lack the traceability and direct trade that allows the bean to be perfecty post-harvested and therefore shared with the customer in a pure and clean product, with no extra cocoa butter.
Our goal is to product the healthiest and purest chocolate bar. Believing the cocoa bean should be the only cocoa derivative in the % of cocoa content as it is the most natural derivative and the one full of antioxidants and single origin flavor complexity.
We also make unroasted cacao products, chocolates with no refined sugar, added sugars or lecithins.
This coming 2023 will see how we make the healthiest chocolate bars ever made, full of probiotics and no sugars at all.