Cacao trees grow in a narrow belt either side of the Equator with a humid tropical climate and a preferred average temperature of 25°C / 77°F. Their natural habitat is the lower storey of rainforests, where larger trees provide shade.
Harvesting begins at the end of the rainy season, after the fruit has ripened. Farmers carefully remove the fruit from the trees using sharp knives without damaging the tree trunk, unripe fruit or blossoms. Harvested fruit is then split open and the beans and pulp is removed.
The beans and pulp are placed in a wooden crate and covered with leaves. Due to the high sugar content the mass begins to ferment and undesirable acetic acid vaporizes. The fermentation process takes between five and seven days, during which the beans are regularly mixed to ensure a uniform fermentation.
After fermentation, the beans are spread in the sun to dry naturally for five to ten days. Selected beans are then cut open to ensure their water content does not exceed 6% to avoid mould growth at a later date.
Beans are then sorted according to size and quality, by hand or using simple equipment. This important step ensures similar sized beans for the following processes. The sorted beans are then filled into jute or specially designed synthetic sacks ready for transport by container ship to Europe.
I value the contact to our cacao farmers and regularly visit them on location. We have built a trusting personal and working relationship over many years. @Felix Inderbitzin, Leiter Einkauf
Highest quality standards
The better the bean, the higher the quality of chocolate. Felchlin selects its beans with meticulous detail. A sample from the origin is sent to the factory in Ibach-Schwyz, where it undergoes careful sensory assessment. Purchasing only occurs after the beans have passed all the analyses.
Felchlin’s philosophy is based on their self imposed guideline "Cacao Selection Felchlin" whose principles guarantee the sustainability and quality of the cacao as well as full traceability. Felchlin regularly visits cacao farmers, cooperatives and partners on-site, creating and maintaining strong personal relationships with our valued suppliers.
Felchlin provides cacao farmers local, sustainable and meaningful perspectives with ecological and economical value. These include fair working conditions and cacao prices that are considerably higher than Fairtrade levels, which allow farmers to plan long-term and secure their future.
Felchlin purchases beans with well known geographical origins which supports traceability and the transparency of the cooperatives.