Who we are
Seventy% seeks to raise awareness of the quality and origin of the chocolate we eat, and to work to protect and preserve the sources of fine cacao and chocolate. Founded in 2000, we want to help with the rediscovery of chocolate as a complex, ancient, beneficial and spiritual food.
Simply stated, we want to enjoy – and continue to enjoy – fine chocolate.
What we do
It is our experience that the best tasting chocolate is the result of direct connections between ‘the bean and the bar’ – between the chocolate maker and the cacao growers and producers. By helping consumers make clearer, more conscious choices when buying and eating chocolate we also help support the continued growth and development of the cacao and chocolate markets.
Therefore we seek to understand, identify, promote and develop these connections and ingredient origins and explore the ‘bean to bar’ relationships within this wide, complex industry. We also educate consumers and industry producers about the distinctions and types of cacao and chocolate.
What is ‘fine’ cacao?
In our opinion, a fine cacao is one that can make a fine tasting chocolate.
We believe that fine chocolate holds a range of complexity and quality of flavour not present in other types of chocolate. It is these key properties that can distinguish ‘fine’ chocolate from mass market confectionery products. However, in a commercially driven world where many products base their success on sweetness, mouth feel and artificial ingredients, identifying these ‘fine’ flavour elements is not always an obvious or easy task.
It is only through awakening and developing our senses that we can discover and identify what a good tasting chocolate actually is. Then, by understanding what makes a good chocolate we can gain clearer insight into what is required to produce a good, fine cacao.
Designating that a cacao is ‘fine or flavour’ does necessarily designate the best production or, in turn, the best tasting chocolate. We also believe the simplistic distinction of cacao into the three commonly identified types (criollo, trinitario, forastero) is inaccurate and has set up a misleading hierarchy around quality and fine flavour.
But simply making these statements does not automatically provide an understanding of what fine cacao and fine chocolate actually are. Again, it comes back to taste. Our workshops provide you with tools that will help you gain an experiential and personal understanding of cacao and chocolate.
Only through tasting can you discover first-hand what ‘fine’ truly means.
Why is fine cacao important?
The importance of fine cacao extends beyond the production of gourmet fine chocolate tasted by a few connoisseurs.
Fine cacao represents the sustainable, ecologically viable future of cacao production. Bulk production of cheap commodity cocoa is a model that is broken and has a questionable long term future. We believe that growing of ‘bulk’ cacao varieties is of limited long-term value for growing countries, especially for the smaller ‘fine or flavour’ cacao countries.
Bulk production relies on land clearance and depletion of soil and natural resources. The financial rewards for farmers are often low and only perpetuate a cycle of poverty. High productivity cacao varieties may provide a short term solution, but evidence suggests they have a limited productive lifespan and may in time create more problems than they solve.
Fine cacao requires farming not just harvesting. It requires cooperation and feedback between the consuming chocolate makers and cacao growers. It offers the opportunity for pride in the output of farmers’ labour and the respect of consumers interested in the sources of their food. All these can help generate higher yields and quality, and a higher price. We believe the most ethical and more economically sustainable cacao production method is one where farmers are properly rewarded for quality.
Finance should not be the only criteria. We believe that other benefits should also be considered, including the ecological, environmental and social and economic possibilities of farming based on a more secure long term production.
Fine chocolate, and fine cacao, may not be a large sector in the market, but it is driving and leading the overall market direction and there is every evidences that this sector will continue to grow.
Fine cacao production is crucial to the production of fine chocolate so we have become increasingly involved with helping to develop the relationships and communication between these. We have been involved in the following activities:
Ecuador- Salon del Chocolate, May 2011
Peru – Chocolate Salon and field visits – July 2010
Half day ‘Chocolate Journey’ workshop at the first ‘Salon del cacao y chocolate’ in Lima, farm and collection centre visits to Piura and Taraputo. Advice and support on future development of Peruvian cacao market.
Colombia – ChocoAndino competition – July 2010
Presiding over a cacao, liquor and hot chocolate competition as part of the Colombian/Italian cooperation event, ChocoAndino. (ILLA, FCO.) Contributing to forums at the event. Farm and clone garden visits.
Ecuador – field visits and tastings – July 2010
Field visit to Esmeraldas, farms, collection centres. Fine chocolate and whisky tasting, Quito.
Ecuador – Chocolate Journey workshop and field visits – June 2009
Two day ‘Chocolate Journey’ workshop for industry and the public, Guayaquil. Tastings, chocolate dinners in Guayaquil and Cuenca. Field visits, Vinces, Manabi
Colombia – Factory and field visits – July 2009
Chocolate factory visit, Medellin, clone garden, research centre and farm visits.
Ecuador – ChocoFest and field visits – November 2008
One day workshop at ChocoFest. Panel member for forum. Field visit to Amazon region.
Tour of four Latin American cacao countries – August 2008
Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Venezuela, Panama. Farm, centre and factory visits.
Ecuador – Industry workshops and field visits – November 2007
Two day industry workshop and field visits.
Seventy% regularly participates in forums and exhibitions throughout Europe. Observer at the ICCO Fine or Flavour panel 2010.