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Costa Esmeraldas

Located in the coastal Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas, this family-run estate has experienced a complete turnaround in recent years. After nearly a decade of their farm just scraping by through selling produce into the commodity market, in 2015 the Salazar family took on the project of completely revamping the 100-hectare farm. This included adding a complete post-harvest processing facility on-site, which is now managed by Freddy Salazar, the youngest sibling in the family. Management of the cacao orchards create over 40 full-time jobs within the local community in rural Esmeraldas, while the fine flavor neo-nacional beans they grow are now used by over a dozen chocolate companies around the world. Makers favor it for its strong base notes of cocoa, roasted nuts, and light fruitiness, with almost no astringency or bitterness.

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