We source Honduran cocoa from Frank Homann at Xoco (pictured below), an organisation focused on transforming the way cocoa is grown by planting for variety and flavour. Xoco was started in 2007 and operates across Central America in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Xoco owns its own farms and also works with more than 400 outgrower smallholder farmers, mostly in Honduras and Guatemala.
Farmers in these regions often struggle with low pricing and low yields, making cocoa farming a difficult way out of poverty. Xoco helps by providing fine-flavour cocoa tree varieties as well as continuous, structured technical assistance. They also pay farmers a 50–100% premium for fine-flavour variety cocoa, which is more than they would receive if they were just fair-trade certified. These beans have a deeply nutty, full-bodied flavour profile with a fruity edge. Expect notes of sweet berries, raisin and tangy orange at first, then lingering coffee and raisins.
Xoco’s team visits farmers regularly and trains them on how to achieve successful yields, with a focus on soil management, managing pH values, nutrition, shade management and seasonal cocoa tree pruning.
Xoco has already helped many people out of poverty. One of the team’s first
farmers, Don Alfonso, is an elderly gentleman around 70 years old, suffering from diabetes. With the money he now gets from his small 1.5-hectare cacao farm, he has been able to send his granddaughter to university, buy diabetes medicine and purchase a small, second-hand vehicle so he can go to town for medicine and other necessities. Xoco’s assistance also benefits the community, spreading knowledge of farming best practices and helping other farmers and their families prosper.