Thank you for your interest in submitting beans to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund (HCP).

Designation helps preserve your cacao for generations. You can also benefit from:

  • Evaluation from our internationally acclaimed Tasting Panel for a complete flavor analysis
  • On site sampling and rigorous USDA genetic testing
  • Widespread recognition and potential revenue increases through the use of the HCP designee logo

As a potential collaborator (i.e. applicant), please read the following program requirements very carefully. You must agree to them before you start the application process at the bottom of this page.

Click here for a PDF of the protocols in English

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Designation Process: Please review the “How the HCP Works” page to familiarize yourself with the designation process.

There is no cost to apply for HCP Heirloom Designation.

If your beans are designated Heirloom

  • A fee of $1000 will be needed  to cover the cost of completing the genetic analysis. Aside from the shipping of the beans to the FCIA, this fee is the only financial contribution Collaborators make to the HCP process. The HCP covers the rest from preparing and evaluating the beans to collecting the leaf samples on-site to the genetic testing by the USDA/ARS laboratory to the announcement of the designation.
    • If you are a farmer or small cooperative unable to afford the fee once Heirloom designation is made, we may have a few Bursary Sponsorships available. Interested in supporting a farmer’s submission?  Learn more about becoming a Bursary sponsor

If the beans are NOT designated Heirloom

  • there is no cost and the Collaborator may submit again

Sample application questions can be found here.

Bean Submission Requirements for the Tasting Panel and Genetic Evaluation
The HCP has created a very rigorous set of protocols for submitting and evaluating your beans and processing those beans into liquor and chocolate for our Tasting Panel. Here is an overview of the basic guidelines and procedures:

  • Collaborators must submit EIGHT (8) kilograms of cleaned and dried beans to the HCP for blind evaluation–from approximately 40-120 trees from a single farm or cooperative. Note: The HCP at the present time does not provide for the evaluation of a single tree. If 8kg are not available, the Collaborator must contact the HCP in advance of this application at
  •  The HCP does not specify fermentation or drying practices but does require that:
    • Beans age SIX (6) weeks from the date drying is completed before being submitted to allow the flavor to equilibrate and the beans to be representative of commercial shipments. Date of end of drying must be indicated on the application and on bags of beans. NO fruit, fruit pulps, juices, spices, flavors, or any  substance may be used to alter, enhance, add, or “spice up” the flavor of the beans during fermentation.
  • Storage be at ambient conditions, protected from excessive moisture or any possible off odors and avoiding exposure to any conditions that will cause re-wetting of the beans and resulting mold growth.
  • Bagged samples be stored in screened but breathable containers that will protect them from insect infestation. .
  • Beans be stored in a breathable bag such as new, clean, odor free burlap, jute, or new cotton. Regardless of the material, it should be smelled prior to its use to store the beans to ensure that it is free from any odor taint that would impart an off odor to the beans.
  • It is required that the Applicant retain a minimum of 5 kg of bean samples in these ideal storage conditions. This is an insurance against possible loss of sample during shipment.

IF THE BEANS ARE DESIGNATED HEIRLOOM BY THE TASTING PANEL, collaborators will need to submit specific data about their beans’ processing to the USDA and will also need to agree to follow a complete HCP Protocol for Preservation during a site visit for genetic sampling and data collection and confirmation by the USDA.