LetterPress Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador (70% dark)


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This cocoa is grown in the province of Esmeraldas, an area not typically known as a cocoa producing region of Ecuador. Costa Esmeraldas is a family business, entirely owned and managed by the Salazar family. This single estate farm was established on reclaimed cattle pasture and is currently planted with approximately 100 hectares of 5-year old Nacional hybrid cacao (clones EET-95, EET-96, and EET-103).

The farm is currently expanding, and will include 10 hectares of a traditional Esmeraldas cacao varietal that was cultivated in isolation for over 100 years from the typical Nacional cacao grown in the rest of the country. The original farms planted with this cocoa are currently being cut down and replaced with oil palm and CCN-51.

The farm is located less than 10 miles inland of the coastal town of Muisne. A brand new, high efficiency fermentation and drying facility was designed by Cacao Services and constructed in a dry microclimate about 15 miles from the farm near the town of Tonchigue. The facility design allows production of unusually consistent and clean cacao with an efficient movement of material that reduces worker injury and fatigue.

Additional information

Weight 57 g
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David and Corey met in high school in Southern California. They didn't date, but were really close friends for years. Corey always had a passion for the environment while David has been obsessed with graphic design and traveling. They did finally start dating in 2006 and married in 2010, moving back to Los Angeles from Northern California. In 2011, they travelled to St. Lucia on vacation and happened to stop at a cocoa plantation where they got to taste the pulp from cacao pods and saw cacao fermenting for the first time. By 2013, the couple was running a bean to bar chocolate blog called Little Brown Squares which exclusively featured reviews of bean to bar chocolate bars.

By early 2014, David was thinking of getting into the agroforestry business and took a cacao bootcamp class hosted by Madre Chocolate in Oahu, Hawaii. There, David learned not only how to grow and cultivate cacao trees, but ferment cacao and run a batch of chocolate through to completion from bean to bar. Returning afterward to LA, David began purchasing small quantities of cacao beans from chocolate makers and brokers and started making his own batches soon after. During this time, David was working as an artist at DreamWorks Animation where he had founded the DreamWorks Chocolate Society. Eventually making chocolate that the Society loved, he started selling his bars to his fellow employees.

By 2016, their little apartment had become overwhelmed with equipment and the couple needed to move everything out. They found a solution in a shared kitchen just down the street, and moved their operation there. By 2017, they were able to purchase the kitchen and by 2018, they took over the entire space and renovated the retail area, having their grand opening in September 2018. 

LetterPress chocolate work closely with farms that are sustainable, do not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and when possible, agroforestry projects where cocoa grows in conjunction with other native species.


No Nutrition Information available

Refer to ‘Additional Information’ for allergens


cocoa, organic unrefined cane sugar, organic cocoa butter


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