The Springs farmland is located in the Suchitepéquez region of Guatemala, a mountainous region of the nation’s Pacific Front. Situated at 400m altitude, this farm spans across several areas encompassing a total of 78 cuerdas (about 76 acres).
Springs is nestled among enchanting semi-wild fruit forests, which gracefully adorn the picturesque valleys that punctuate the surrounding landscape. The diverse array of crops cultivated on the land includes coffee, bananas, mangos, avocados, breadfruit, Kaymito, cane, zapotioll, and palo banco. To its namesake, water sources are abundant here, with four springs and numerous rivers flowing directly through the land, especially during the rainy seasons. Divided into three distinct valleys, the farm boasts a natural splendor that captivates all who visit.
Under the care of Juan, a devoted father of seven, the isolated Springs lands thrive under the diligent efforts of his son Cheyo and friend Byron. During harvest season, they welcome about 15-20 workers, offering fair compensation for their invaluable help. Despite financial constraints, Juan proudly practices organic farming, which first began due to a lack of resources for conventional fertilizers, and now motivated by a deep belief in sustainability as the future of cacao and the key to preserving this precious land for future generations.
Springs Cacao has a forward, deep flavor of roasted coffee with banana accents, due to surrounding fruit agroforest and proximity to coffee plantations. Its fat content surpasses most cacao in the world due to the abundance of river & spring water through the land.
Yet another world of cacao can be found at 550m in the Suchitepequez Mountains. Here, a women’s collective called Nuevo Amanecer is cultivating beautiful artisanal cacao and bringing abundance and stability to their community.
“Nuevo Amanecer” means “new sunrise.” The name of this collective reflects a ‘new beginning’ for the women there--many of them single or young mothers, or widows--as they achieve independence and stability through the handcrafting of traditional ceremonial cacao. Established in 2013 and now consisting of twelve remarkable women, Nuevo Amanecer perhaps stands to represent the promise of abundance and connection within cacao itself, as well as a new beginning in the cacao industry to embrace organic practices and community-sustaining labor and business models. In the context of ample violence and exploitation befalling women in Guatemala, this thriving collective sets an impactful and hopeful tone.
At the heart of this exceptional collective and its cacao is the dedication of Odilia, a dedicated mother of two daughters. Odilia leads with tenderness and wisdom, bringing together the group of women in a way that honors each of their unique strengths and life experiences. Odilia’s newly-established kitchen doubles as the space for a small workshop, where the group of talented artisans handle every aspect of the cacao production process with utmost care and precision. From sourcing and harvesting to processing and crafting, their collective efforts ensure the creation of exceptional cacao products that embody their passion and expertise.
Mama Amor cacao is fruity & acidic, with caramel bittersweet fragrance that capture the abundance of fruit in the surrounding agroforest. A 7-day fermentation wrapped inside banana leaves adds a subtle layer of complexity to this delicious cacao.
Introducing the exquisite Ullulawl cacao. This ancestral cacao is sourced from the esteemed Tuqtuquilal regenerative center, located in the mountain region of Alta Verapaz nearby the waterfalls of Semuc Champey. With a strong commitment to reforestation and empowering cacao cultivation, Tuqtuquilal is dedicated to fostering sustainable living solutions for the local Q'eqchi community and visitors. This not-for-profit startup prioritizes the growth of cacao without the use of agrochemicals, ensuring the highest quality and environmental sustainability.
In 2019, their impactful efforts led to the creation of a cooperative of farmers, uniting approximately 60 families in the region. This cooperative enables collective empowerment and supports the local economy by producing exceptional and responsibly-sourced cacao.