Cocooned by their Andean terroir and preserved due to the proud and vivid cacao tradition of local families, the heirloom Chuncho cacaos have survived the passing of times in the Urubamba Valley. The old and sturdy Chuncho trees, some of which are 200 years old, grow at an altitude of 1.200m, which is highly unusual for cacao. The local families are exceptionally proud of their Chuncho heritage and many families carefully harvest beans from their oldest trees to make their own hot chocolate—roasted over the fire with cinnamon or orange peels, grinded in corn grinders and submerged in milk and sugar.
Cacao genetic scientists have recently found that the old Chunchos are some of the genetically and aromatically richest cacaos in the world. The same experts believe that the Matsigenka Indians, back in pre-Inca times, selected and planted their favorite Chunchos based on the flavours and aromas of the pulp, which they used for juice.
The Matsigenka still value their cacao juice highly and we owe the rich and diverse flavours of today’s Chunchos to these cacao-loving people — flavours that we intend to cherish and preserve.
Many cacaos from Peru wrongly carry the label “Chuncho”, but most are foreign modern hybrids that have been spread throughout the region, where they have replaced the rich diversity of native cacaos. However, we are just in time to preserve the true Chunchos and, at Original Beans, we only source from selected farmers with old Chuncho trees — a selection of which we also help propagate and raise in nurseries and plant in cacao-agroforestry systems on the Andean slopes.