Before cacao became popular in Europe, Ecuador had been cultivating and using cacao for over five thousand years. Spain ruled over Ecuador for two centuries starting from the 16th century, during which they extensively cultivated cacao and became a major supplier of cacao to the luxury market in Europe. The 18th century saw the Industrial Revolution, leading to a surge in cacao demand, making Ecuador the world's largest cacao exporter and boosting its economy. However, in the early 20th century, the "Witch's Broom Disease" outbreak resulted in the death of many cacao trees, severely damaging Ecuador's cacao-dependent economy, leading to inflation and currency devaluation.
Through relentless efforts and assistance from the Seed Bank of the United States, Ecuador successfully restored its local cacao varieties, including Arriba Nacional, Criollo, Perla, Foresto, and more.
The estates providing CACAOLAB cacao beans are dedicated to bringing Ecuador back to its peak as a major cacao exporter in the 18th century. To achieve this goal, they gradually increased production, improved quality, adopted commercial cultivation methods and corporate management, and heavily invested in research and quality control to ensure the quality and competitiveness of the cacao. CACAOLAB has deliberately chosen three cacao bean varieties from among many: 1. Ecuador's renowned Arriba Nacional 2. The primitive Criollo with the most original cacao genes 3. The precious Perla, resembling a pearl. Each of these three cacao bean varieties has its own unique flavor and characteristics. To ensure the flavor of the cacao beans, they have strict genetic controls in place to prevent different varieties from mixing together.