Our Cacao

After much research, The Happy Cow Chocolate Company learnt that a good chocolate maker, like any maker of good wine or coffee, pays attention to the raw beans being used to produce chocolate. Did you know that more than 80% of the world’s chocolate comes from low quality bulk beans of the Forastero variety? 

Craft chocolate makers use mostly fine, and sometimes rare bean varieties to make some of the amazing chocolate we feature in our boxes. Therefore, The Happy Cow Chocolate Company mainly use Criollo Cocoa.  

Due to its fragile state, susceptibility to disease, and low production, Criollo plants now make up less than 1 to 5% (the experts vary on that number) of the total crop production in the world. Partly due to the rarity, and due to its unique, complex flavour, Criollo beans are regarded as super fine cocoa and many heirloom varieties are sought after by craft chocolate makers.  

Criollo cocoa is often fruit forward, very aromatic, and has very little bitterness, which makes it perfect for our venture. 

 In our cacao nibs, we are guaranteeing at least 75% content of this is rare, very high-quality aromatic bean. It’s considered a delicacy and is prized for its superior flavour – the result of the bean’s higher fat content. 


As well as supporting local food bank charities, we also wanted our cacao to be fair for the farmers who are producing it. We wanted a producer who didn’t contribute to deforestation. That is why we acquire our cacao from a producer who grows sustainably amongst trees or shrubs, using the Agroforestry land management system.  

This method has much less environmental impact than the fertiliser-heavy plantations that are common in West Africa and which cause so much deforestation. Forest cover in agroforestry systems can both, improve water retention and, reduce nutrient losses. Agroforestry also has the potential to conserve soil fertility and functioning, while providing socio-economic benefits to land users, through income generation opportunities and increased resilience to climate change. At the regional level, agroforestry could potentially increase carbon removal and therefore be a climate change mitigation strategy. 

In addition to this, it’s very important for our farmers to have varied benefits for their production. Our current cacao supplier does a lot of good work with the farmers over in Peru, such as education and health programs, financial incentives, tool banks and many others.