by The Urban Grocer in New Food and Packaging on Friday 28 January 2011

This is not the kind of hot cocoa you’ll get out of one those tiny bags with the dehydrated marshmallows (which may or may not be my guilty pleasure). Nope, Talamanca Cocoa is taking it to a whole other level. This is about creating a ‘product ecosystem‘. Getting a little too out there? Let’s take it back to the beginning.

In Costa Rica, the Bribri women of Talamanca – hence the name – harvest cacao plants that naturally grow in their ecosystem to make organic ground cacao patties, formed by hand, which are then used for a hot cocoa, of sorts. Here, no sugar is added, of course, and the hockey puck-like ground patties are a source of pride and ceremony. So to raise awareness about the positivity of organic cocoa production and bioethical sourcing in places with rich biodiversity, such as Costa Rica, The Nature Conservancy paired up with San Francisco-based design agency, the Fuse Project. The result?

That same Talamanca Cocoa from the women in Bribri, now for your drinking pleasure. The patties are stored in burlap sacs inspired by what they use on the ground to hold the raw cacoa beans, and sold along with a tool that not only grates the cocoa into your mug but serves as a self-cleaning stirrer too. Awesome. Of course, all is local, natural, biodegradable, reusable, and organic. Who knew you could take a stand for sustainability just with a simple mug of cocoa?