$1,065
pledged of $17,500pledged of $17,500 goal
23
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, December 24 2011 3:30 AM UTC +00:00
Jeffrey SternBy Jeffrey Stern
First created
Jeffrey SternBy Jeffrey Stern
First created
$1,065
pledged of $17,500pledged of $17,500 goal
23
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, December 24 2011 3:30 AM UTC +00:00

About

What We Want To Do

We all love chocolate. But wouldn't it be even better if you knew the story behind who grew the beans that went into your bar? Exactly where they came from, how they were grown, and how they were transported and then transformed into that magical substance we all love? Help us to make direct purchases from our partner farmers/cooperatives in Ecuador. We will pay them a fair price-their price-for top quality heritage Nacional beans, and create the amazing elixir that comes only from Ecuadorian cocoa beans.

Why Ecuador?

Why are we so excited about Ecuador? Most of the world's chocolate is your average bulk grade mediocre stuff. The cocoa beans are bought and sold in massive amounts with little regard for quality. But 5% of the world's cocoa beans are considered "fine grade" and Ecuador is the world's largest producer of these beans.

Unfortunately, even Ecuador's famous Nacional cacao bean is disappearing with the introduction of new hybrid varieties. With our efforts, we aim to not only make a top-shelf chocolate, but to engage in direct trade with cacao growers, and highlight the threats facing Ecuador's farmers and Ecuador's world famous heritage Nacional cacao. 

How We'll Do It

How will we source the cacao beans and make the chocolate? We've arranged to purchase Nacional cacao from key regions of Ecuador. Because we live in Ecuador and work in the chocolate business, and through the help of Cristian Melo who has spent years working with cacao producers' associations, we have identified prime sources of top-quality Nacional cacao beans and will buy directly from farmers´ cooperatives. Jeffrey Stern is our Ecuador Sourcing Manager, and has lived in Ecuador for five years. He lives and breathes chocolate and knows Ecuador's cacao industry firsthand. Jeff is our man-on-the-ground for the purchase and transport of the beans.

Who will make the chocolate? Dana Brewster and Mark Del Vecchio, of Millcreek Cacao Roasters in Salt Lake City, will make the chocolate at their artisan facility. When the beans arrive at their facility, they will carefully clean and inspect them, then roast, winnow, grind, conche and refine them to silky perfection, to be molded into beautiful shiny bars for your delight. Bars will be hand-packaged, then sold at Millcreek Cacao's existing locations, as well as online and through other venues.

In each of the regions we select beans from, the bar packaging will include the story of our growers. Not only will you hear about the growers through the bars and taste their story, but we plan to document every step of the process in writing, via blog, and video, to develop a direct trade model others can implement! 

How will your donations help make the project happen? We've already laid out all the groundwork. We have the logistics and equipment in place. You contributions will help us to pay a fair price to the growers and transport the beans to the US, and make the chocolate and send it out to our supporters!

Rewards

Our rewards include limited edition chocolate bars made from Ecuador´s rare cacao, ever-lasting dried cacao pods, and other chocolate goodies made with the project´s chocolate.  At the top levels, we will invite you to Salt Lake City to see our production facilities, and Ecuador to learn about cocoa and chocolate on the ground!

More Info

You can read about some of the issues we're trying to address at www.jeffreygstern.com/blog and www.destination-ecuador.net. As well, we highly recommend reading http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/etd/331/ to learn about some of the issues facing Ecuadorian cacao growers we'd like to address with this project.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A bar of hand made, dark chocolate crafted from aromatic cacao beans grown by a coop of small farmers in Ecuador and an everlasting, fully-dried cacao pod.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    You will receive a set of one each of our bars from our partner cacao growers, a fully-dried, everlasting cacao pod, a personalized thank you note and project updates.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    You will receive a set of one each of of our beta flavors (before being released to the public!), a fully-dried, everlasting cacao pod, a skype/ichat/Facetime or conventional phone call of 15 minutes with Jeff Stern at any time during the project, a personalized thank you note and project updates.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You will receive a set of two each of our bars from each of our partner cacao growers, a fully-dried, everlasting cacao pod, and a personalized thank you note, a 30 minute skype/ichat/Facetime or conventional phone call with Jeff Stern at any point in the project, a personalized thank you note, and regular project updates.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    We will create a delicious bar with inclusions of your choice, or flavored with your favorite ingredient, and send you 5 of these personalized bars, and an everlasting dried cacao pod. You will also be entitled to monthly project updates directly of 30 minutes each with Jeff Stern in Ecuador, via Skype, Facetime, Ichat, or phone, a personalized thank you note, and regular project updates.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    We will invite you into our shop in Salt Lake City, UT for a day of chocolate making, plus ten hand made bars. Transportation/accomodations not provided. If you can't make it, we'll send you an entire chocolate-making class kit complete with all the ingredients, chocolate tasting samples, and clear recipes and the ten bars. You will also be entitled to monthly project updates of 30 minutes each directly with Jeff Stern in Ecuador, via Skype, Facetime, Ichat, or phone, a thank you note, and regular project updates.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    We will send you a set of 10 personalized chocolate bars in a hand-made Ecuadorian balsa wood box, an everlasting dried cocoa pod, and we'lll invite you to accompany us to Ecuador on one of our cacao explorations to see first hand where chocolate originated, and spend a day in our Quito location learning how to make chocolates at Jeff Stern's shop in Quito (airline tickets and accomodations not included). If you can't make it to Quito, you are still invited to Millcreek Cacao Roasters in Salt Lake City, UT for a day at the factory (airline tickets and accomodations not included). You will also be entitled to monthly project updates of 60 minutes each directly with Jeff Stern in Ecuador, via Skype, Facetime, Ichat, or phone, a thank you note, and regular project updates.

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Funding period

- (45 days)