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I just acquired a order of wild beans from Bolivia and was wondering, as I have never used wild beans before, if they tend to have more bugs or if its just a bad batch as there is at least 25% insect damage. Definitely smaller and not the best job of fermenting but a decent enough looking bean aside from the insect damage. Thanks   

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well, there's really no such thing as a domesticated bean.. so...all beans will have bugs.  if you are finding them on the inside at 25% level, that's a sure sign that they weren't taken care of properly post harvest, and someone's just offloading them to get rid of them.

Yea thats pretty much what I was thinking and fortunately didn't get the larger order I was going to place. Thanks

its nothing inherent in the beans, its a warehouse or transport issue.  you're probably talking about polilla moths, they can have strong or weak years depending on weather and humidity patterns.  polilla levels are also affected by the condition of the warehouse, whether they've fumigated recently, how long the beans are stored, and how and when they were transported.  For Beni wild beans they have to go for days along river routes, then days in trucks up over the andes, then on a boat, the logistics are horrendous and polilla can multiply at various stages along the way.  Its frankly a miracle that any of those beans make it to market without major damage, a true testament to Volker Lehman's prowess.

Thanks for the reply! That puts it into perspective a bit. As someone who has made a few of them journeys, unrelated to cacao, I could understand completely how difficult it might be to get anything out of there at all... I have yet to try them as a finished product but do look forward to seeing what comes of them.

those logistics aren't really all that different than most other regions, to be honest.  the life cycle of the typical cocoa moth is about 25 days (mas o menos), and you hit on the main source early on - almost all of the infestation will occur in the warehouse and storage.  if he's got beans that are 25% internally impacted, that's occurred over the course of many  months (potentially even years) - OR someone's scalped off the 'worst of the worst' to clean up a lot of beans - assuming the beans are bagged and palletized, the majority of they impacted beans will be on the outside facing surfaces - to prepare a bulk shipment for someone else.  There's a saying in the ivory coast that roughly translates to 'there's no graveyard for cocoa beans' meaning ALL beans find their way into sale-able streams - diseased, infested, moldy, or not.


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