Since we founded International Coffee Farms (ICFC) and Belize Cacao Consortium (BCC) our main focus has always been on growing Specialty Agriculture.
Identifying two truly specialty crops, in demand yet in limited supply, that are established and desired the world over.
Then acquiring farms and building our farm management teams to grow these crops.
Years of hard work goes into engineering the farms and then you have to wait for Mother Nature to take her course.
Coffee saplings take 3 years to produce their first crop so the last few years have been all about farming, soil, saplings, organic certifications, closed loop processing systems, agronomy and biology, to name a few aspects. All farm related.
That has been great and we are learning a lot as we grow. It has given us valuable time to strategically grow our team to fit our pace of expansion.
Now comes the really fun part! Designing, perfecting, branding and launching our own finished Products!
It hit me today when one of our parcel owners in Panama posted a picture on Facebook of himself and his wife making their morning cup of coffee. The difference today compared to any other day was that he was drinking coffee that was actually grown on the coffee farm where he owns a half acre parcel!
Finca Dona Linda. How cool is that?
We have known for a while that our coffee was good and getting better. We received confirmation from independent Q Graders and coffee cuppers for our coffees from Loma de Los Cedros and Dona Linda just last week.
We just don’t have a huge amount of it….yet!
In a couple of years our production will ramp up as the 250,000 baby saplings we have already planted over the last few years will produce their first crop.
In Belize, the production timeline is similar. Newly planted cacao trees take 3 years to produce their first cacao pods.
However, the difference in Belize is that in order to float all the boats of the Maya cacao farmers, and not just ourselves, we are already buying wet cacao beans from 154 local farmers and processing them into fermented and dried beans, cacao nibs, cacao butter, cacao powder and finished chocolate products.
Through our social media and newsletters hopefully you have all seen the delicious truffles and bon bons on display in our Mahogany Chocolate store and a few of you lucky readers have even tasted them!
Now, aside from selling decadent truffles to the affluent guests in Mahogany Bay Resort and Beach Club, we also want to make our 100% Belizean chocolate products available nationwide to all Belizeans. At a price that they can afford.
In cacao, as in most crops, you have Producing countries and you have Consuming countries.
Usually the product is grown in under-developed countries where the labour is cheaper and the population have less disposable income to buy “luxury” products.
The top 99% of production is exported to Consuming countries like the US and Europe where we can all afford to pay $5 for a cup of coffee or $20 for a box of chocolate truffles.
And the lowest grade products are literally left over for the locals. We think that sucks!
In Belize, they consume 500 metric tonnes of chocolate annually.
Of this they import 450 metric tonnes! Including bringing in cheaper, mass produced, “candy” chocolate bars like Mars and Hershey’s.
For a country that grows some of the best quality cacao in the world..that just does not seem right.
So we have set about changing it.
In Panama we have already made amazing Specialty Coffee available locally in our new specialty coffee and artisanal chocolate shop, The Perfect Pair. And we did so at a lower price than all the national brands in town.
Now its time to do the same in Belize.
We are very proud to have launched our first 2 chocolate bars. Both made with 100% organic Belizean cacao. Made by Belizeans for Belizeans. At a price they can afford.
First up is our Premium Bar…aptly named the Belizean.
A 100-gram, 72% dark chocolate bar with fruity notes and a clean, crisp taste, this sleek and sexy bar is made with NO preservatives, no soy lethicin and no fructose corn syrup.
Available now in the Belize International Airport, our Mahogany Chocolate Store and being rolled out nationwide. Currently in 14 locations and growing.
The Belizean is retailing at 30% less than other similar locally produced bars so it is affordable and available to everyone.
Next up is our 50-gram, 50% milk chocolate bar, Brukdown. Because not everyone likes 72% dark chocolate, the idea behind our Brukdown bar is to make a milk chocolate “candy” bar available without sacrificing the quality.
The native Creole word Brukdown is Belizean for party…and our “Belizean to the Bone” Brukdown bar is “A Party in Your Mouth”
Again, to make this bar available to everyone it is retailing at 50% less than a Mars or Cadburys chocolate bar sells for here and even has an additional 20% extra Free!
Rolling out in local stores, supermarkets, airports and gas stations nationwide, finally Belizeans can grab a bar and go without needing to over-pay for a low quality imported product.
We have tested these bars on dozens of sample groups and the results have been astounding. With many calling them the best bars they ever tasted!
We are extremely proud of our team who have worked very hard over the last 8 months to perfect the flavour, mouth feel, design and packaging of these bars.
Our Executive Chocolate Maker, Armando Choco, said from the day we first met that he always wanted to launch high quality yet affordable Belizean chocolate bars.
Well, Armando take a bow because your bars are on the shelves as we speak!
If you are a cacao farm parcel Owner then you should be proud too because the sale of these bars form a part of the revenue streams that you get to participate in.
You helped make this happen!
If you are not yet a parcel Owner…. wouldn’t it be cool to be able to say that you own your own chocolate bar brand?
Contact us today to find out how you can!