4 months ago I was walking through a cocoa plantation in Samoa I didn't know I had. 30 minutes into my walk, thoughts of excitement and gratefulness entered my mind. My grandfather’s determination and fighting spirit acquiring the lands I now called home. Dazed with excitement, I started on a journey of growing and producing the best cocoa bean I could possibly produce and share it with the world. Growing up in Samoa drinking cocoa was like drinking water to others. We would pick them off the trees, ferment and dry them before roasting then grind them ready to be made into hot cocoa drink. After some quick research in to cocoa exporting, it was clear that Samoa’s cocoa export market has been non- existing for many years.
My extended knowledge of cocoa is that you can drink it, buy in a chocolate form and grows all year round. The next two months for me was all about education and learning about cocoa from planting to chocolate and powder form.
We have farmers who live on cocoa so it wasn’t hard to find information about growing cocoa in Samoa. The next big challenge for me was to start a program growing cocoa to its maximum potential. With that program now up and running, the next big obstacle was to find someone to sell the cocoa to, which is why my trip to Australia was a must.
Believe it or not, one of the first place I went to for market research was the “Chocolate Life” website and it all started from there so I would like to thank “Chocolate Life” and it’s creator Clay Gordon for contributing to what I have achieve to now. I’ve met some fantastic people through CL and I’m happy to say that it was through CL that I met Adrian who is my first Samoan raw cocoa bean customer in Australia. Adrian was fantastic through the whole shipping process and it didn’t come without its issues. He persisted with it and now enjoys making chocolate with Samoan cocoa beans which only took a few days to get here.
I must admit there are still minor issues we still need to address here in Australia, but overall future shipment will be a breeze due to the work Adrian and I endured.
I also spoke to other cocoa buyers on CL who were interested in Samoan cocoa beans so if you are still in the market to try us, I’m sure it will be worth it so contact me via email or go onto my website for more information. www.premiumcocoaenterpise.com
I came this far with other people’s help like CL, Adrian, Peter, Tom to name a few so I’m here if anyone needs my help 24/7.
A Chocolate Life member
Congrats on discovering you've got a surprise cocoa farm - not many can say that i don' t think 8-) Some things to consider moving forward, if i may. Whomever originally laid out your grandfathers farm had some knowledge of cocoa - i can tell from your photos. I can also tell from your photos that the trees have been there for some time - now, from what i can see they're all still pretty healthy and productive, but if you're going to migrate this from a discovery you didn't know you had to a sustainable business venture, you're going to want to give some consideration to rehabilitation, and may wish to speak to someone about grafting and replenishment planting materials.
Best wishes to you in your new adventure!
That is quite a journey, I wish I had a hidden plantation too!
On the website are the bars you are selling ground liquor bars?
Hi Tom, the plantation wasn't hidden. It was always there, but all our families left the Island to either to NZ, Australia or the US. The cocoa trees were in good company with grass and other useless weeds. There is about 15 acres of cocoa trees, coconut trees, banana trees and your usual native surroundings. It's a big life changing experience moving from a 5 room house in Sydney to a shack that had no electricity or running water. The magic thing is I can grow the best cocoa bean in the world from there. Just need somewhere to send them to. Clay might get upset with me for using up the web space so feel free to email me. I still owe you some beans so it's coming.
Thanks Richard, I look forward to it, yours will be the third plantation I will have tried beans from in Samoa, it really is a very nice origin bean.