The Cocoa Flavor Map Puts Fine Central American Cacao On The Map

The Lutheran World Relief (LWR) Regional Cocoa Flavor Map is an innovative online tool highlighting the unique profiles of cocoa produced by farmers in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Being recently unveiled at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, The Cocoa Flavor Map will help cocoa producers better connect with buyers of fine and specialty cocoa, who will be able to quickly identify the sources for the cocoa flavors, profiles, and characteristics they are seeking.

LWR, ZOTO, and Guittard Chocolate initiated in 2016 a project to screen the flavor diversity of cocoas from three specific countries of Central America (Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador), members of the Meso-American Association of Fine Cacao and Chocolate AMACACAO, starter of the certification protocol for microlots of specialty cacao from Central America called CUNAKakaw.

Manual de Trazabilidad y Calidad para Cosecha y Post Cosecha Proceso para Certificación CUNAKakaw

According to Dr. Zoi Papalexandratou, Lead Cocoa Advisor for ZOTO (a Belgian cocoa consultancy company), the Cocoa Flavor Map will open doors of the international chocolate market to the Central American farmers mapped and their cooperatives, and will highlight the distinctive flavors of their cacao:

The main scope of the project was to create a visual tool that illustrates the flavor diversity at the coop level, in some cases even at cocoa blend level, as this was perceived through official tastings of the Cocoa of Excellence and project team. We considered that just geographical mapping of the new products would not be enough. Nowadays you find flavor guides in order to choose the gin, whiskey or tonic that fits best your taste. That’s why we decided to accompany sensory data with quantitative data so we can support the subjective evaluations with concrete scientific objective measurements.
This whole dataset gives us the possibility to correlate all the samples statistically and discover their actual organoleptic similarities. Such a cocoa flavor guide can help a chocolate maker select lots from different locations that express similar notes.

Thanks to the Flavor Map:

  • farmers and cooperatives can adopt a more knowledgeable post-harvest approach: the flavor profiles can document the impact of small adjustments in processing on final cocoa quality as producers are trained to use laboratory equipment and perform qualitative analysis,
  • chocolate makers, on the other hand, can benefit of this interactive tool to obtain exclusivity on special microlots, and increase knowledge, transparency, and traceability of the whole processing process.



To view the full Cocoa Flavor Map, visit:



Lutheran World Relief Launches the LWR Regional Cocoa Flavor Map of Small Central American Producers, The Chocolate Life.