December 9, 2023

If craft bean-to-bar makers purchase single-origin cacao from the exact importers, producers, and traders, The chocolate shelves are overflowing with the same name of the country.

Craft chocolate lovers can buy hundreds of Madagascar, Tanzania, Vietnam, Ecuador, and Colombia on the market. The chocolatier’s skill lies in the ability to imprint their mark in the chocolate by using an individual bean-to-bar design machine, a set of machines roasting profiles, and unique methods that culminate in a distinctive aroma.

It’s just average for professionals to look for innovative, under-explored, and niche cacao-based origins to distinguish them from the ever-growing competition.

Which cacao varieties from acceptable cacao sources will be most popular in 2023?

Craft chocolate lovers are also fascinated by the new cacao origins when they shop for chocolate and are enticed to try them (i.e., they can open their wallets). This is the reason cacao suppliers continue to search the most remote forests of the world, looking for farms that are not known and varieties that may be the first to offer to market.

In the last few months, I’ve heard about some of the latest cacao origins being repeatedly mentioned on social media, community discussions, on-site events, and through my contacts in my personal life. In the craft chocolate business, it is common knowledge that if some countries show frequently from different sources, They are bound to be famous and monumental in a few months.

The time has come to seek three new premium cacao varieties that will be favored by 2023!


In January 2023, the most famous chocolatiers in the craft industry met to explore Thailand’s exquisite cacao industry. Suppose trend-setting companies such as Manoa Chocolate and Fjak Chocolate plan to begin making chocolate made from Thai cacao. In that case, they’ll likely make their source of inspiration popular with their peers. It is believed that the Chanthaburi Province is where the gold rush is happening. The delicious aromatic characteristics of scrumptious Trinitario hybrids are now improved with the correct post-harvesting methods to show all their potential.

The cacao’s origin is supported by the growing number of craft local bean-to-bar chocolatiers who showcase the possibilities of their cacao locally in award-winning chocolate creations. The Thailand Craft Chocolate Festival. It is set to be held in its 3rd event this time around. Thai cacao attracts the curiosity of European, US, and Canadian cacao importers, who are ready to provide the upcoming harvests of this particular cacao-based origin to their high-profile customers.

Thai Cacao team

Thai Cacao is an exporter of Thai fine-flavor cacao, directly partnering with Suriya Farm. The company’s founder Ryan Berk (from Parliament Chocolate), has been keen on Thai cacao for a long time. He was the first person to import the finest cacao from Chanthaburi to the United States in 2019 before committing himself to helping Thai farmers directly improve their infrastructure for post-harvesting and identify potential buyers.

Thai farmer who holds the signature Mabco cacao bag

Mabco Importer is the sole effort created by Juan Gonzalez, a Canadian importer of premium cacao, fine-flavor coffee, and vanilla beans. An early pioneer in direct trade and scouting intriguing cacao origins from around the globe, Juan Gonzalez was the first to get Thai cacao from Thai Interco Cacao in the hands of Canadian chocolatiers as early as September 2022.


Despite being near some of the most well-known cacao sources (Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala), El Salvador has never been noticed in the world of fine chocolate. Why?

The issue has always been its capacity to produce cacao trees that were discarded to grow more lucrative crops, no government incentives, and problems with developing appropriate infrastructures for post-harvesting. However, the country is concealing valuable cacao genetics. Most of the Salvadorean cacao grown is tasteful, derived from indigenous Criollos and fantastic Trinitario hybrids.

Slowly but gradually, El Salvador is living through the cacao revolution and has become an interesting new place to visit due to the numerous single farms scattered throughout the country. Starting from the mangroves that make up the Usulutan Department to the mountains of the Sonsonate Department, The producers are creating an impact due to the exquisite flavor of their cacao.

Juan Rafael and Elisa from VAICACAO

VAICACAO was established in the year 2000 by Elisa and Juan Rafael, an Italian-Salvadorean couple who own the farm Finca Cuyancua in Izalco and directly import single-farm cacao from El Salvador to Italy to make ceremonial cacao as well as stoneground chocolate. Because of their close relationships, friendships, and alliances with El Salvador, they have been constant cacao promoters throughout the country and have helped several farms establish and improve their post-harvesting practices.

Belco Cacao’s Director Cesar Magana at Don Lenny’s farm in Tecapan.

Belco Cacao is a French direct cacao importer (with expertise in specialty coffee) who aims to serve as an intermediary with Salvadorean cacao producers and European chocolatiers. The company is currently sourcing cacao from nine local farms and takes the cacao dried in its new storage facility located in Juayua and is ready for shipping.

Alianza Cacao

Alianza Cacao is the only national association committed to helping and supporting thousands of cacao farmers across the country increasing the prestige and facilitating exports of premium Salvadorean cacao.


Beyond any expectations, Togo is climbing as the second-largest cacao producer around the globe. After not impacting the coffee business, Togolese farmers discovered that their fertile soils and the heavy rainy seasons, were better suited to cultivate cacao instead. Over 90 percent of Togolese cacao is grown within the Plateaux region. Although it is regarded as a “man’s job,” many Togolese women are involved in cultivating and promoting cacao. The most notable is that the Kekeli Cooperative in Mount Agou, which was founded by Abra Benczedi in 2019.

It is believed that the Amelonado and Forastero varieties grown in this region appear to offer a variety of notes on taste that are different from the standard chocolatine of neighboring Ghana as well as Ivory Coast (when cared for during the process of fermentation and drying) creating an incredibly rich and delicious, yet vivacious chocolates.

Katrien of Silva Cacao

Silva Cacao is the top supplier of premium cacao to European craft chocolatiers. Its founder, Katrien, Katrien is known as a pioneer in the field of fine cacao, putting her bets on brand new, undiscovered, and undervalued cacao sources that she can succeed, such as African origins such as Togo, often regarded as a detriment in the fine chocolate market.

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