Meet our Partners

“Flavorless, high-yielding trees are not the only option in the fight against the global degradation of cacao. Numerous specialty chocolate manufacturers and chocolatiers whose livelihood depends on fine-flavored cocoa have come together to work with local farmers on every continent to preserve heirloom cacao.That’s what the HCP supports.” – Gary Guittard, President of the Guittard Chocolate Company

The HCP’s success is not possible without the relentless commitment of many extraordinary people and agencies.  We want to recognize the work of the scientists, farmers, chocolate makers, industry experts, businesses, and chocolate enthusiasts who make this initiative possible.

Fine Chocolate Industry Association

Fine Chocolate Industry Association

The FCIA is a professional non-profit organization representing the fine chocolate industry, whose mission is to promote the quality, innovation, and best practices in the fine chocolate industry from tree to bar and bonbon. Click here to learn more about the association.


HCP Partner USDA ARSThe idea for the HCP emerged in 2010 when Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) representatives met with the USDA-ARS, which thought its lab could help the FCIA identify fine flavor cacao using the samples in the existing worldwide database. Shared concern led to instant action: in December 2011, the FCIA established a specific cooperative agreement with the USDA-ARS. Today, the USDA-ARS plays a key role in profiling the genetic flavor components of the bean samples we receive.  Using gas chromatography they measure and record the beans’ flavor profiles. Click here to learn more about the USDA-ARS.

HCP Tasting Panel

HCP Tasting Panel

The HCP evaluation process starts objectively with bean samples anonymously and uniformly processed into chocolate at Guittard Chocolate, the oldest family-owned chocolate company in the US. The internationally acclaimed HCP Tasting Panel performs a blind flavor analysis. The Panel is made up of cacao experts from six countries, each with at least 15 years’ experience in chocolate (collectively they represent more than 250 years of experience) and who have all served as professional evaluators of cacao bean flavor. If this panel scores a bean’s flavor sufficiently high that bean would then be deemed “heirloom” and the HCP will proceed with the genetic testing.

Current HCP Tasting Panel Members

Pierre Costet, Valrhona (France)

Chloé Doutre-Roussel, Chloé Chocolat (France)

Sepp Schönbächler, Felchlin (Switzerland)

Dr. Darin Sukha, Research Fellow, Cocoa Research Centre,
The University of the West Indies (Trinidad & Tobago)

Martin Christy, SeventyPercent (UK)

Ann Brinkerhoff, Principal Scientist/Master Chocolatier,
The Hershey Company (US)

Gary Guittard, President, Guittard Chocolate (US)

Edward Seguine, Seguine Cacao, Cocoa, and Chocolate Advisors (US)

Jorge Redmond Schlageter, President, Chocolates El Rey (Venezuela)

HCP Founding Circle

HCP Founding CircleTwenty-five chocolate companies and industry stakeholders, the vast majority of which were artisan and small independents, stepped up to provide funding in 2012 as Founding Circle members, allowing the HCP to officially launch in June 2012 and move forward.

Thank You

We would like to give a big thank Ed Seguine and Guittard Chocolate Company for their very hard volunteer work in preparing the cacao2chocolate samples for the Tasting Panel and HCP Tastings at the FCIA Events.