Ecuador Nacional ASE
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Region and Country
Guayas District, Ecuador
Archeological finds in Ecuador indicate that the cultivation of cacao in the region dates to more than 5000 years. The exports of cocoa beans began around 1830, when wealthy families bought acres of land to produce cocoa beans. It was the first product ever exported from Ecuador.
Ecuadorean cacao is classified by the Instituto Ecuatoriano de Normalización into different categories which indicate the total percentage of fermented beans in a lot, size and weight of the beans as well as the percentage of defects. The abbreviation A.S.E. is one of these categories and stands for: Arriba Superior Épcoa.
Arriba refers to the area in which the beans are grown: in the upriver areas of the Guayas river, in the lowland provinces of Ecuador: Guayas, Bolívar, Cotopaxi and Los Ríos. According to legend, the name was minted in the 19th century by a Swiss chocolate maker who encountered locals with freshly harvested cacao while navigating along the Guayas River. When asked where their cacao came from, they answered “de río arriba” or upriver.
This cocoa is collected from smallholder farmers who have renovated their plantations to grow Nacional cacao exclusively. The cacao is grown in an agroforestry scheme along with other crops like fruit trees, banana, papaya, pepper, and vanilla. By diversifying their products, the producers ensure a more stable income throughout the year.
March – June (Main) October – February (Mid-crop)
Post Harvesting Process
Cacao is fermented in wooden boxes in a period of 5 to 7 days and put to dry on cement patios or wooden tables.
Balanced chocolate with notes of ctirus, fresh fruit, nuts, florals (jasmin and rose), wood and tobacco.