Press and News Cacao Lovers Rejoice: Cacao of Excellence R&D Laboratory and Training Centre Unveiled

Cacao Lovers Rejoice Cacao of Excellence R&D Laboratory and Training Centre Unveiled

cacao of excellence logoROME, ITALY - Cacao of Excellence is proud to unveil its new state-of-the-art cacao R&D laboratory and training centre. Located at Via Baccio Baldini 4 in Rome, the facility will be dedicated to exploring the depths of cacao quality and sensory analysis and revealing the diversity of cacao flavour profiles.

The laboratory and training centre will accommodate the processing and evaluation of cacao samples received from over 55 participating origins for the global Cacao of Excellence Awards, and will serve as a cacao quality processing and sensory training centre for cacao-producing origins.

Cacao of Excellence’s team of scientists, sensory evaluation experts and cacao producers from every origin will work together to push the boundaries of cacao innovation and quality, putting into practice Cacao of Excellence’s Standards for cacao quality and flavour assessment. From uncovering the secrets of rare cacao types to perfecting processing and evaluation, the practices, collaboration and trainings conducted at this facility will make a lasting impact for cacao producers and the sector as a whole.

"We are excited to reveal this one-of-a-kind laboratory, which will allow Cacao of Excellence to enhance research on cacao bean flavour and quality and strengthen the knowledge of actors along the value chain" said Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General of the Alliance for Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). "We are committed to recognizing, valuing and promoting superior quality cacao and its diversity, as a means to empower producers and entrepreneurs, at-origin. This facility will take Cacao of Excellence to new heights", he added.

“This is an important step in the trajectory of Cacao of Excellence, as a globally prestigious Award competition and as a collaborative platform that supports open innovation, capacity building and cacao quality enhancement”, said Brigitte Laliberte, Acting-Director of the Cacao of Excellence programme. “This laboratory is 14 years in the making, from the early years of consistent support from our earliest partners, to over 30 public and private partners and supporters. We are confident that the Lab will be a successful learning and innovation hub for cacao producers hailing from over 70 cacao origins and we have our partners to thank for their continued support in making this a reality”, she added.

Ed Seguine of Seguine Cacao, Cocoa and Chocolate Advisors and Guittard Chocolate, has been an unwavering leader of Cacao of Excellence. Since its creation, he has generously provided his expertise and precision to bean processing. Cacao samples competing in the 2023 Edition of the Cacao of Excellence Awards will be the first to be processed in-house at the Lab by Cacao of Excellence scientists.

The laboratory will be open to interested parties, for trainings and sensory evaluation sessions. For more information or to schedule a visit, please contact the Cacao of Excellence team at [email protected]

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Cacao of Excellence is a global collaborative platform led by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, part of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future, and public and private partner organisations. Since 2009, Cacao of Excellence has held eight prestigious Award Editions, consolidated an extensive and globally diverse dataset on cacao production, assessed the flavour diversity and quality of over 1,250 exceptional and unique cacao bean samples from 55 origins; and led the development of the first International Standards for the Assessment of Cocoa Quality and Flavour. Its Global Network on Cacao Genetic Resources (CacaoNet) contributes to the safeguarding of the world’s cocoa genetic diversity in two international collections at the Cocoa Research Centre in Trinidad and Tobago, and the Tropical Agricultural Research and the Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica.

Cacao of Excellence was founded in 2009 and has become the leading champion for promoting cacao quality and diversity to empower farmers, increase the sustainability of cacao value chains and improve farmer livelihoods. For more information, please visit the Cacao of Excellence website.