Thank You Volunteer Bean Sorters!
Wow, what a heart warming night! Over 30 volunteers showed up for the Enliven Cacao sorting event. A truly amazing group of people. Their dedication helps chocolate makers get the best cacao beans possible, and helps the farmers and their families continue to earn their way out of poverty.
Why sort cacao beans if they're already sorted at the source? Because the beans are in for a long, bumpy ride. After they're fermented and dried, they get bagged and stored in a warehouse. Next they're trucked to a port in Nicaragua and loaded on a ship. Finally, the cacao is unloaded from the ship, loaded on a truck, driven to Minnesota, and unloaded into our warehouse.
All that travel results in some breakage. So Enliven volunteers empty out every bag. First they sift out the dust and small broken bits. Then they spread the cacao out on a table and look at literally every bean to make sure it's undamaged, big enough, and not too flat. Finally, they're the last line of defense against sticks, pebbles, and any other undesirable hitchhikers that might have snuck their way onboard.
All this good work ensures a clean and 100% useable product for chocolate makers. Because chocolate makers pay for cacao by weight, removing unusable bits provides them with a greater value, saves them time, and protects their equipment - pebbles are not friends.
If you're in or around the Twin Cities area and want to help next time, let us know. We'll add you to our volunteer network and reach out only when appropriate. Every little bit helps and everyone can make a difference. Plus you get to eat chocolate!