Location: Ucayali River, Pucallpa, Peru
Tasting Notes: Mocha, Cedar, Tangy
Varieties: Local Trinitario ancestors, ICS, TSH
Fermentation Style: Wooden boxes
Drying Style: Sun dried on elevated racks in a greenhouse
Elevation: 600 to 2000 feet
Soil Type: Sandy clay
Harvest Season: April to August and November to December
Ucayali River Cacao is a central fermentary that works with cocoa farmers along the Ucayali River outside of the Peruvian city of Pucallpa. The region has historically been aﬄicted with unrest from narco-traﬃcking and the presence of the Shining Path militant group. Ucayali River Cacao has partnered with USAID and Alianza Peru to give local farmers access to an alternate market to cocaine. Working with around 400 smallholder farmers with one to three hectares of land each, Ucayali River Cacao buys wet cacao at a premium price. They have worked with Daniel O’Doherty of Cacao Services to hone their fermenting and drying processes.
Cacao in the Ucayali Region
There are three groups of cacao that can be found in the Ucayali region: various Trinitario clones, CCN-51 and what the locals call “comun”. The comun varieties are similar to Trinitario, lower in bitterness and astringency. Ucayali River Cacao purchases only the comun and Trinitario clone varieties.