Utah State University (USU) is excited to announce the arrival of rare Catongo cocoa beans at the Aggie Chocolate Factory. These unique albino beans, sourced from Fazenda Santa Teresa in Bahia, Brazil, will soon be processed into premium chocolate bars that showcase the beans’ distinctive flavor profile.
The Aggie Chocolate Factory is proud to be one of the first chocolate factories in the United States to have the opportunity to process the Catongo cocoa bean. This rare Forastero variety of cocoa bean in the Amelonados family is known for its unique albino genetics, resulting in a visually striking white cocoa bean that turns light brown during the fermentation process. The bean’s flavor profile is marked by low acidity, citrus notes, nutty undertones, and subtle hints of spices, making for a truly one-of-a-kind chocolate experience.
“We are thrilled that the Aggie Chocolate Factory has the opportunity to develop, a new and deliciously mild, 70% cacao chocolate made with rare, pure white, albino cocoa beans sourced directly from a single farm near Barra do Rocha, Brazil,” said USU food scientist, Professor Silvana Martini, director of the Aggie Chocolate Factory. “The support we receive from the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences helps put us on the leading edge of craft chocolate research and manufacturing and gives our students unique opportunities.”
The work with this unusual cocoa bean is possible through a collaboration with Luciana Monterio of Ara Cacao, who is currently a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Aggie Chocolate Factory. Ara Cacao is based in Brazil and does research and development focused on creating chocolate with particular attention to distinct flavor notes from its place of origin.
The arrival of the Catongo cocoa bean is part of USU’s commitment to exploring and promoting the diversity of the chocolate world. The Aggie Chocolate Factory prides itself on supporting sustainable and ethical cocoa farming practices, and the Catongo bean is no exception. Fazenda Santa Teresa, the farm from which the albino beans are sourced, practices the traditional cabruca agroforestry system in which farmers plant cacao trees and other crops without clearing forests. This method preserves native trees and promotes biodiversity, allowing for the coexistence of cocoa trees, fruit trees, and native wildlife.
Martini said the team is committed to crafting high-quality chocolate products that highlight the unique characteristics of the cocoa beans the factory sources while providing learning opportunities for students and supporting the confectionery industry.
The Aggie Chocolate Factory has begun roasting the Catongo cocoa beans and will start grinding the first full batch this week. The first batch of bulk chocolate is expected to be available by mid-week. A small test batch has already been molded, with fantastic results.