Let me take you on a journey into Keith’s cacao forest …
Keith sources his cacao from personally selected farms only. He buys directly from the producers who grow their Theobroma cacao trees in the native Guatemalan rain forest. This guarantees best revenues for the farmers as there are no middle-men involved.
Everything is done manually – the pods are picked by hand, opened with a machete, the cacao beans are taken out and put into wooden boxes for fermentation (approx. 3-4 days). They are then dried and brought to Keith’s workshop in San Marcos La Laguna at the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.
Once the truckload of cacao beans has arrived in San Marcos, the bags are brought into the workshop and distributed to the workers. After carrying them home, they sort through them to make sure that only the best beans are processed further. The beans are then roasted softly (Keith likes to emphasise that they are actually „toasted“ 😉 The next step in the production process is the peeling of the beans. Sounds easy, but requires a lot of expertise – and strong fingers! The beans are brought back to the workshop and assorted once more. The very best beans remain whole and are sold as cacao beans. The remainder is brought to the mill and with pressure the beans are ground to wonderful and silky chocolate – click here or on the picture to watch the video 🙂
The people involved in the production process are not only working for Keith – they are family. Keith offers much better working conditions for his team than most employers in Guatemala. Some of the cacao roasters and peelers have been with him for 20 years. They can work from home. This allows them to take care of their kids while earning money and working self-responsibly. I’m so happy I got to know them during Keith’s „Homecoming“ retreat I attended in February 2023. They are very dedicated and full of excitement and joy 🙂