Cacao Tea and Chocosol: A Lesson in Organic, Socially Just Trading
Just wanted to give everyone an update on our work with Chocosol Traders. As some of you may (or may not!) know, I’ve been working very closely with Chocosol, and specifically their founder Michael Sacco in creating a line of forest garden, socially just, organic and fair trade herbal tisanes using their cacao shells.
For centuries the ancient Mayans had used chocolate in many facets of their lives, and in modern day Mexico you can still see that rich tapestry of tradition working its way in everyday life. My friend Michael is working on his dissertation for his PhD in Indigenous Studies and Chocosol was born out of a love and desire to create a horizontal trading platform to reach ‘bean to bar’…that is, from the cultivation and sharing of knowledge with local farmers (mainly in Oaxaca Mexico), to the importing, roasting, and stone grinding of pure raw chocolate here in Toronto. Michael and his team head down to the farmers in Oaxaca Mexico once a year to partake in community programs, help in the loading of beans and goods, and pays these farming communities directly and higher than fair trade prices- usually to the tune of 30% more than FT. We’re hoping if this Cacao tea project takes off we can join him next year to meet these incredible people.
What does that have to do with Herbal Infusions? Well I quickly shifted my focus from merely ‘importing’ teas to blending in-house using locally grown and often in-house dried ingredients. I learned about the importance of not only understanding where your food is sourced, but also how important it is to understand who is making your beverages (whether it be tea, coffee, chocolate, etc). I worked with Tourism Toronto and other organizations to teach tea blending workshops to anyone that would listen and continue to do so.
The past two weeks I’ve spent some time at the local markets side by side with Chocosol sampling and selling our cacao tea blends…to overwhelmingly positive reviews! Going forward I will be posting limited production flavours of our cacao tea line on our website.
Currently we have three staple flavours: Organic Original, Vanilla bean, and Mint (all are organic I might add). They come in loose leaf and pyramid tea bag format.
I recently launched two other flavours: Strawberry cream (using dehydrated Ontario strawberries that we harvested earlier this year), and Banana cream (also dehydrated in house, but sadly not locally harvested. Bananas don’t grow that well this far North). Should have these two limited batches up on the site by the end of this week in loose leaf format.
Feel free to check out our website to find out some more information on this exciting project. You can also find a short interview from Michael explaining the importance of Chocosol below: