Source: Bejofo Estate
Region: Sambirano Valley
Source Type: Privately owned estate and fermentary
Beans Source: Grown on estate
Fermentation Style: 4-tier boxes, fermented for ~6 days
Drying Style: Drying decks on rails & sun drying patios
Cultivation Notes: Large-estate, some old trees, intercropped
Certifications: Organic, Fair for Life
Exporter: Bejofo Estate
Importer: Dandelion Chocolate
Tasting Notes: Bright fruit and citrus
Start of working relationship: 2011
Last Visit: Nov 2015 by Greg
Tonnes Purchased in 2016: 12.7 MT
Purchased TOTAL (lifetime): ~64 MT
The first full bag of beans that Dandelion Chocolate ever bought came from Bertil Akesson’s Organic Estate in Madagascar. And then, a few years later, the first full container we ever bought (that’s 12.5 tonnes, or almost 28,000 pounds) came from Bertil’s estate again. And in 2017 (whose numbers aren’t included in this report), we hope to buy two containers from Bertil!
There’s a reason we continually turn to Bertil and his beans. Like beans from every origin, their flavor changes from harvest to harvest, but every year they bring us some degree of their trademark bright fruit and punchy acidity as well as consistent quality from bag to bag and year to year. Akesson’s Estate in Madagascar, originally comprised of 2,000-hectares, has trees that are up to 80 years old, and it is the largest single estate that we work with. Among chocolate makers in the craft chocolate industry, Bertil and his estate are well known and well regarded, and the operations here are dialed in and smooth. Every morning during harvest season, farmworkers cut down about 400 or so ripe pods each, and move them quickly into fermentation boxes where they stay for six days. Fermenting them immediately after harvest is a crucial piece of quality control.
This year, Bertil has started operations in Gabon, and renamed the lot of land where the beans we buy are grown to Bejofo Estate in order to be more precise about which of his farms these beans come from. The thing we like best about working with Bertil is that he knows the industry better than anyone else we speak to, he’s been working with a wide variety of chocolate makers, both large and small, for many years and is always happy to share his wisdom.