Monday, April 30, 2012

Cacao Development: TUMACO

We believe in the potential of TUMACO cocoa beans, we are working hard to develop its quality.

TUMACO, a southern town in Colombia, close to the border to Ecuador, was one of the most important ports in Colombian history.

The waterfront town TUMACO, facing the Pacific Ocean, is also the mouth of 4 large rivers. Many "mangrove" grow along these rivers and the twisted coastline, the local people come and go between such a special water road by boat.

There is some infrastructure inland with dirt roads with decent maintenance that allowed us to move by car. However, there are many seaside and riverside villages that the only way to get there is by boat though the open sea and up the rivers.

Fortunately or not, the people who are living in these villages are growing cacao. Once their product is ready, after harvesting, fermenting and drying, they have to take a small boat for over an hour to go to mainland and sell their beans to a broker.

Sail the river by their boat

The history of this region concerns to root of such a their life.

The name TUMACO originated from the indigenous language. Since 4,000 years ago, the Tuma nation inhabited this region that spanned all the way from the northern part of Ecuador in these dense mangrove forests.

But in 1598, father Onofre Estiban ran them out of this land, and established the city. By 1610, when the city was officially founded, many Spanish intruders were already living in Tumaco.

At the beginning of 17th century TUMACO transformed to an important port between Panama and Callao –where all the goods of Peru, Bolivia and Argentina were exported to Spain from. By that time, African slaves were brought with stern treatment into this land giving birth to a mixed culture of indigenous, Spanish and African people.

However, in 1781 Tumaco had a rebellion by original inhabitants against the Spanish rule. At that moment many slaves escaped to the swamped mangrove forest to hide and spread.

Coastline with mangrove forest

When we land on TUMACO, we can easily feel the difference between this land and other Colombian regions. With such a history, many afro-Colombian are still living in this land with their own culture and own community structure. Also many Indigenous people still inhabit this region.

It seems that the strong traditional cacao cultivation culture that started in the indigenous period or middle ages, has vanished a little, however, some traditional cacaos can still be found and we are working for them to flourish again.

Our main activity is working with local producers to make a collection of these traditional cacaos to find and develop their quality potential. TUMACO REGIONAL, as we call these cacaos, are unique and proudly represent the history of Tumaco, ¨The pearl of the Pacific.¨

posted by Mayumi OGATA


  1. I had some chocolate made from cacao from this region and it had a banana flavor to it; so wild and delicious! It's amazing how different chocolates taste as do coffees based on where they are grown.

  2. the trader joes cocoa powder I purchase comes from this region and has a fantastic flavor. Do you know if the beans are dutch processed or natural 100% cacao powder. Thank you.