Daniel South: The Man (and Farm) Behind Our Caribbean Cacao

The word is starting to spread among chocolate makers in Costa Rica…

And they all want Daniel South’s cacao.

He doesn’t have an especially big farm. And the cacao trees aren’t all rare varieties. Instead, he has a small, family-run farm. And his cacao’s genetics are good. 

One main thing differentiates his cacao…

Daniel (pronounced “Don-ee-el”) takes tremendous pride in his work. 

His farm is immaculate. He has perfected the full process, from growing and harvesting through fermenting and drying. And the results are consistently excellent…

In a previous post, we told you about the all-important “cut test.” We explained that well-fermented cacao should “score” at least a 65%. Daniel South’s cacao regularly comes in at 99%-100%.

This is unbelievably rare. The Latest Batch chocolate maker Jay has been working with world-class cacao for more than six years… And he’s never seen it before.

Here are the great "sacos" that Daniel ships his cacao in...

Because Daniel’s farm is on the Caribbean coast - which has a 10-month-long rainy season - drying cacao isn’t easy… 

Daniel has drying beds with wheels, so he can roll them under cover when sunshine turns to rain. He typically dries his cacao for at least two weeks… which is twice as long as most folks spend on this step.

Daniel's perfect “post-harvest processing” (fermenting and drying) brings out the cacao’s full depth of flavor. And it creates a delicate bean for chocolate makers to work with… 

It requires very light roasting and extreme care in every part of the chocolate-making process. You don’t want to “over-bake the cake” and lose all its fine flavors.

Did we mention that Daniel bakes fresh bread every morning, too? If you’re in Puerto Viejo, you can visit him at Bread & Chocolate. Here are Jay and Daniel at the cafe, last month…



We love Daniel’s cacao. And we know if you try The Latest Batch chocolate made with his cacao, you’ll love it, too.

As we say in Costa Rica, pura vida,

The Latest Batch