Yumbos is an artisanal chocolate factory located in Mindo, Northwest of Pichincha in Ecuador. The Founder, Claudia Ponce has a passion for Cacao and a vision of creating a chocolate factory of excellent quality for the benefit of the farmers, the workers and the delight of the consumers.
Yumbos Chocolate is pure and handmade, without preservatives or artificial flavorings. It is made from Cacao selected from Aromatic Varieties, which in Ecuador are called 'National, Fine and Aromatic'.
The Cacao that Yumbos Chocolate uses comes from the areas of Los Rios and Esmeraldas. In this area we have implemented an ethical alliance with the AMATIF women's association (Timbire Women's Association for the Future). This association brings together almost 100 families, who have always cultivated the famous varieties of Fine and Aromatic Cacao (Criollo Blanco, Amendolado, Arriba y Otros) on small parcels. This is an important part of their culture and identity, a part of the heritage of their ancestors.
The cultivation is done with the use of traditional farming techniques. Such as, the presence of other fruit species in the same crop, plenty of space between trees. Also it is done with regard to the environmental conditions and the productive phases of the plants.
We support the women of AMATIF with improvements in the construction of the collection center and we have implemented a continuous training program in respect of the Fermentation and Drying to ensure that these early processes are well performed. We pay a fair price for the produce and help to ensure that value generated by their work remains in their community.
The name 'Fine and Aromatic' comes from the classification of the International Cacao Organization (ICCO) and indicates delicious aromas and flavors. This is the original variety of Ecuador, in its genes are varieties like Criollo, Trinitario, Arriba and others. This variety is the one that the great chocolatiers of the world look for, for its aroma and unique flavor. It represents only 4.7% of the world Cacao production. The rest of the production, or 95.3%, is classified as ordinary Cacao and has no aroma.
This type of Cacao is the indispensable ingredient to make the best chocolate in the world. The Codex Alimentarias (International Food Standards) says that a 'Premium' chocolate must contain at least 12% of Fine and Aromatic Cacao in its formula. We produce bars with 100%, 85%, 70% and 60% of Fine and Aromatic Cacao.
The uses and knowledge about the Fine and Aromatic Cacao varieties of Ecuador are an intangible heritage of the country. Traditional knowledge and practices related to cultivation, consumption, transportation and marketing are part of the history and culture that has remained constant over the centuries.
It is worth remembering the successful effort of Ecuador in implementing a large scale project to protect and promote the genetics of the Fine and Aromatic Cacao variety.
Yumbos Chocolate is proud to recieve the 'Golden Bar' award at the National Ecuadorean Chocolate Awards 2017.
When it comes to the harvest, we only select the most mature fruit from the best trees.
The best seeds of Fine and Aromatic Cacao, fresh from the fruit, are selected and fermented using the box method, which has been one of the themes of the training provided to producers in the Esmeraldas area.
The drying takes about 15 days. After a few days the body of the seed begins to develop its characteristic colour. About 15 days later the seeds contain the 7% humidity necessary for the next processes.
The toasting process is done at 120 degrees for 40 minutes, its purpose is the following -
Further develop and round off the flavour generated during the drying
Reach a humidity of 3% within the beans
Achieve a healthy and hygienic product
With the first grinding we break up the beans to facilitate the removal of the shells. This is done in front of a strong wind, the heavier cacao nibs are left behind while the shells blow away.
Then we proceed to the transformation of the nibs into the valuable cacao paste, the basis of our exquisite chocolate that Yumbos produces, extra dark bars of 100%, 85%, 70% and 60% purity of cacao and with natural flavors of coffee, aji, lemongrass, ginger and nibs.
Refining and Conching are carried out until the particles of the mix (cacao, sugar and cacao butter) have a dimension of 20-25 microns. This step also removes unwanted acids that can produce astringency.
Then we proceed to the tempering stage where the chocolate mass is cooled slowly to homogenize the components and crystallize them in the desired shape. Well tempered chocolate takes on a characteristic gloss which evidences the quality of its rich smooth creamy texture.
We have an area of the factory dedicated to hosting tours, you can watch and learn the full process of chocolate making with a dedicated guide.
You will see every step, from the fresh cacao fruits to the finished bars of chocolate. We include a brief history of Cacao at the beginning and a full tasting all out delicious chocolate products at the end.
Tours are available from 10am every day of the week, without reservations. We don't operate a schedule so just arrive when you would like to begin. We can accommodate groups of up to 10 easily and more with some advance preparation. Tours are always available in English and Spanish, other languages are possibly available, please enquire in advance.