How HCP Works

The HCP is a totally new way to evaluate, identify, and value cacao that has extraordinary or unique flavor. It is the first initiative to connect flavor and genetics with an end goal of rewarding growers by helping them achieve the same or even greater income than they would by selling ordinary or bulk cacao. In that way, we hope to ensure the sustainable production of cacao for fine chocolate. We achieve our mission through the following steps:
  • Identify the finest flavor cacaos
  • Linking their flavor to genetics for natural reproduction
  • Recognizing and rewarding the farmers who cultivate fine flavor cacao trees.
  • Preserving+propagating the finest cacao for current and future generations of both farmers and chocoholics.

Our Methodology

Here is how the process works:
HCP Process in Detail

A. APPLY TO THE HCP: After filling out the application, applicants submit six (6) kilograms of their best beans for evaluation.
B. THE USDA processes the application and begins genetic evaluation.
C. THE HCP LAB at Guittard Chocolate processes the beans ANONYMOUSLY into chocolate and liquor for sampling.
D. THE HCP TASTING PANEL of experts performs a sensory evaluation of the beans.
E. THE HCP reports the Tasting Panel results to the USDA and the Applicant. If Heirloom designation is achieved, additional genetic analysis is performed on the beans. If not, the Applicant is invited to resubmit beans at the HCP’s cost for re-evaluation.
F. THE USDA performs a site visit to sample the cacao trees the submitted beans came from and matches them to the genetics of the beans submitted. If the beans match, the designation is complete!
G. THE HCP announces the designation and begins working with the Applicant to promote the result and on preservation and propagation work.

After the HCP designation process is complete, all the information is provided to the growers, who with the support of the HCP, use the designation to achieve higher market prices than they would growing bulk or ordinary cacao.

You can help growers who cannot afford the cost of submission. Learn more here.