Organic Criollo with unique, complex flavors.

Single Variety Cocoa - guaranteed by grafting.

Organic, Single-Variety Criollo.
Guaranteed by grafting.

Hacienda Betulia is exclusively growing three fine flavour Criollos:
B6, B8, B9.

The highly complex and unique flavours of our Premium Criollos inspire and serve as the basis for highly exclusive specialty products.

All three variants provide a delicious taste of cacao with beautiful fruit notes (see sensory evaluation diagrams below). The rare, complex flavours of Criollo Betulia allow the production of unique high percentage rich cacao products with an exclusive mix of complex flavours.

All three “Betulias” were degustated and examined by some of the best Maître de chocolat. Top chocolatiers of well-known brands confirm the exceptional quality – perfect to create mild and tasteful premium chocolate.

Only small, controlled quantities of all three Betulia variants are available every year.

Criollo Betulia is grown from original local colombian cacao trees, located in Maceo. No trees were imported or relocated. All “Betulias” are propagated by consistent grafting, without crossbreeding of other varieties. In this case Criollo Betulia, is indeed a true “local”, a member of a cocoa family with a rich tradition.

The genome analysis of all three Betulia Criollos verified a high resistance to different cacao diseases.

B6

B6 reveals a complex range of nicely balanced flavours, from sweet berries to hazelnut and fruity, creamy yogurt. B6 is the best solution for the creation of all kinds of gourmet chocolate products.

B8

Exquisite and rare, B8 shines through a mix of distinct uncommon flavours like dry thyme and spicy tea. Experts agree that this is a very rare cacao! B8 allows the creation of unique tasting cacao products – perfect for customers, who can pay attention to a real difference.

B9

The B9 clone shows a dynamic and powerful flavour profile ending with refreshing notes of ripe pineapple and exotic star fruit – expressing a rich bouquet of beautiful nuances over time. B9 is the first choice for limited, high-profile chocolate.

Mixtura

From the old trees of our colombian plantation, from which B6, B8 and B9 were selected. Single farm blend of native clones (50% Criollo and 50% Trinitario).

B6 “Berry”

  • Creamy & balanced flavour
  • Nutty sweet acidic aroma
  • Yellow fruit (Melon)
  • Berries
  • Hazelnut
  • Sparkling
  • Fresh flowers
  • Fruity yoghurt

B8 “Spicy Tea”

  • Unique complex special flavours
  • Peanut butter aroma
  • Spicy
  • Dry herbs (thyme, oregano)
  • Red bell pepper
  • Forest breeze
  • Daisy flower
  • Tea

B9 “Pineapple”

  • Complex sweet/spicy fruity flavour
  • Ripe pineapple
  • Ripe star fruit
  • Refreshing
  • Mocha
  • Pine wood
  • Grapes
  • Alcoholic

Mixtura

  • Sweet/fresh fruity flavour
  • Cocoa
  • Refreshing
  • Pine wood
Copyright Sensory graphics by gastronomy.io. All rights reserved.

The cut test of our three “Betulias” reveals a unique quality:

B8 and B9 beans are ALL 100% white. This is a very rare characteristic – Criollo usually shows a purple/lilac color at 20-30% of the beans. B6 includes a few purple beans, but most are also shining with bright color.

The cut test also displays the good fermentation level of all beans.

B6

B8

B9

Criollo – A Rare Jewel.

The cacao Criollo tree is native to South America. Only 5% of the world’s production is Criollo. High quality Criollo is even more rare.

Criollos are particularly difficult to grow. Trees are vulnerable to a variety of environmental threats and typical cacao deseases. Criollo yields are low – compared to more robust varieties.

High-quality Criollo beans have a white to porcelain colour and are considered to have a richer aroma of different flavors, than that of other varieties. Their taste is often described as exquisite and delicate with a complex mix of sub-flavors. Sometimes low in classic chocolate flavor, but rich in secondary notes of long duration. Considered to be the “prince of cacaos,” Criollo is used as main ingredient in the very finest of chocolates.

From manual harvest to the final bright beans:

Extremely Low Cadmium and Lead

To meet the strict regulations of the EU, regarding maximum levels of heavy metal in chocolate productions, which will enter into force in 2019, scientific analyses of the resulting beans took place. The results are more than satisfying: Criollo Betulia does not suffer from the incrimination of heavy metals, especially Cadmium and Lead, like other cacao sorts (measurement results are available on request).

Thanks to a carefully selected plantation area and controlled environment, traces of Cadmium and Lead fall far below the strict limits of the EU regulations.

Our Quality Production

The Cacao production on Hacienda Betulia is driven by environmentally sustainable principles and a high quality approach. All steps, from planting and natural farming to the special fermentation and drying of our unique Betulia beans, are performed with greatest care and respect towards the best possible result: A rare, single variety Colombian Criollo cacao with exquisite, complex flavours.

Our fully organic production is based on a scientific, carefully balanced cultivation concept.

At the very beginning an extensive soil and climate analysis took place. Based on the results, a diverse agroforest concept was defined and implemented.

Based on careful observations, three local productive Criollo trees, which produce “white”, flavored beans, promising a complex flavour cacao were selected. These special Criollos are locally called “Betulia”. 

The selected trees – distinguished by numbers B6, B8, B9 – were grafted and multiplied over time.

Organic Plantation

Cacao trees around the world are usually planted with a high density, to create high yields on the limited plantation space. Since the mid 20th century commercial stands were established in 3 x 3 m spacing, superseeding traditional low planting densities to realize higher profits. This is especially true for huge plantations with industrial-like production, which produce large cacao quantities for the price-sensitive low-end chocolate market.

On the other hand, high densities can result in future production drops and increase the risk of typical cacao diseases, like witches’ broom incidence, caused by the fungus Crinipellis perniciosa.

At Hacienda Betulia planting takes place at 4 x 4 m for every single – consequently grafted – Criollo tree. The generous spacing combines good light penetration with vigour and resistance to diseases. Finally the more balanced cultivation, with characteristics of self-sustainability, provides better quality results over time.

Presently 11.000 trees are planted on 13 ha. Betulia B6, B8 and B9 are being arranged in alternating furrows. Every tree has its own number and a written biography with all information regarding planting and grafting.

Thanks to the regular soil analyses and a special organic fertilization, a consistent quality is ensured.

Fermentation & Drying

Fermentation is a key stage and most critical element in the processing of cacao beans – especially for the sensitive Cacao Criollo. It is laying the foundation for our cacao’s unique flavour. To provide good results Criollos need more efforts than with other varieties.

At Hacienda Betulia a special, neutral fermenter boxes are used, to avoid taste-affecting effects during the process. The fermenter construction, made of rare Sapan hardwood, does not add any flavours to the beans.

The fermenter boxes are located in a special room. The design provides a better homogenity, high efficiency and is easy to operate.

To find the sweet spot between the complex cacao flavour and keeping the health benefits of usually bitter-tasting ingredients, Hacienda Betulia developed specific fermentation processes with accurate control. 

Every step of the process during the anaerobic and aerobic phases is carefully managed. To detect the right moment for the turns during fermentation the bean temperatures and PH values are periodically measured.

A special drying installation on nearly 200 m2 ensures a slow, homogeneously drying. The Betulia beans are protected from the midday sun with movable Carros – which are easily brought under shelter during the hottest hours of the day. 1.5 Tons can be dryed at the same time.

The beans are moved every two hours, to guarantee a homogeneous drying. This gentle drying protects the beans and their unique exquisite flavour. Finally the “Betulias” were carefully stored in neutral storage bags in a dry environment.

The beans are moved multiple times a day.

You want to buy small or big quantities of our Cacao?

We are shipping high-quality Colombian Cacao beans directly to customers in Europe and especially Switzerland. Please feel free to contact us. For our Tree-to-Bar chocolate products, please use our Online Shop.