The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has become the largest coffee trade association after being founded in 1982, developing a quality of standards for specialty coffee.The SCAA has since inspired the forming of the Cocoa Standards Working Group in 2015, which created aprogram for standards and protocols to be put in place for fine cocoa just the same as specialty coffee procedures.
Rick Peyser, a former president of the SCAA, wrote a piece for Daily Coffee News that explained the formation of the Cocoa Standards Working Group after a speaking engagement he was invited to participate in by the World Cocoa Foundation. At the presentation in El Salvador, Peyser spoke about coffee quality. At the end of his presentation, he recalls asking the audience, “Does the specialty cocoa industry have quality standards? If so, who owns, manages, proliferates, and trains others on these standards?” The silence in the room encouraged a small group of audience members to come together after the event to discuss the need for quality regulations for fine cocoa –and the Cocoa Standards Working Group was born.
This group was established and is coordinated by Cocoa of Excellence. Their website outlines the vision and goal of the Cocoa Standards Working Group:
• Vision: To enhance transparency and market access for smallholding cocoa farmers through improved quality assessment.
• Goal: To communicate and develop awareness of buyers, sellers and consumers of cocoa and chocolate about quality, flavor profiles and celebrate excellence of high quality cocoa and chocolate related to best agricultural and manufacturing practices.
Much like the SCAA’s work with farmer organizations, the Cocoa Standards Working Group works with cocoa producers’ associations to regulate a process of standardized procedures for the fine cocoa industry. Also similar to specialty coffee with coffee beans, these standards and protocols will help farmers improve the quality of chocolate around the world as well as improve communication between buyers and sellers. To learn more about US Coffee’s line of specialty hot cocoa, click here.