Cupuaçu (Theobroma Grandiflorum)
We are excited to launch and lead the expansion of Cupuacu beans across Canada and soon North America. Cupuacu is a native Amazonian rainforest tree “Theobroma Grandiflorum” closely related to the same plant that produces cacao beans & chocolate “Theobroma Cacao”. We believe that cupuacu beans produced with the utmost quality have equivalently exciting ingredient possibilities as cacao.
Cupuacu is rarely exported to North America, currently an underdeveloped ingredient. Currently cupuacu’s primary market in North America has been in cosmetic oils as opposed to a consumable item. Therefore cupuacu will be an exciting new experience for North Americans.
Cupuaçu is the most common name used in North American, although it has known as many names across South America such as copuasu, copoazu, cacao blanco or cupuassu. Quite similar to Cacao, the cupuacu trees produce pods/shells containing edible beans which are surrounded in fruit pulp. The fruit pulp is on its own also an exceptionally flavourful product with high potential. We remove the beans from the pod and fruit pulp to then process and dry our final product which is comparable to a cacao bean/nib.
Our cupuacu is sourced from independent small farmers and micro lots in the Peruvian Amazon. As quoted directly from the source “As a native amazonian tree, cupuacu is grown amongst a vast biodiversity of birds, small mammals and even large mammals. It is not uncommon to see tapir footprints in the soil and occasionally if we walk quiet can see them directly amongst the cupuacu. With the processes we use, the rainforest will be in the same condition or improved conditions over the next 5, 10 & 20 years”. The cupuacu agroforestry systems utilized are designed to improve the local biodiversity and sustain the same level of forest health for many years to come. Part of this commitment includes cultivation of cupuacu without the use of any synthetic chemicals or pesticides.
Cupuacu is suitable for health conscious and plant based diets. In many ways cupuacu has comparable or similar health benefits to cacao.
- Cupuacu beans are high in healthy essential fatty acids including stearic acid(39%), oleic acid (38%), palmitic acid (11%) and arachidic acid (7%) and the final percentages being linoleic acids.
- Oleic acid Omega-9 (38%) also found as a major healthy component of avocados and olives . Stearic acid (39%) is commonly found in cacao butter and seen as a healthy plant source of essential fatty acids.
- One possible benefit of cupuacu over cacao is a much lower palmitic acid component, less than ½ of that found in cacao
- Cacao is known to have an concentrated amount of antioxidants and flavonoids. Cupuacu similarly is abundant in healthy compounds and antioxidants including flavonoids. Nine known flavonoid antioxidants are known in cupuacu seeds including catechin, epicatechin, and quercetin
Cupuacu is an energy and nutrient dense bean with similarities to cacao beans therefore may be eaten on their own or as an exceptionally versatile ingredient in many recipes. You can expect to use Cupuacu beans in many similar applications as you would with cacao beans or almonds. This includes usage as the whole bean or in smaller pieces either sliced or crushed. You may process Cupuacu beans into a finer size using a mortar and pestle, food processor or chopped manually with a knife.
Cupuacu is versatile in recipes that are sweet or savory, hot or cold such as the following:
- As a topping on trail mix, granola, or oatmeal, yogurt, acai bowl, smoothie bowls, salads
- Incorporate into desserts, ice cream, cookies, brownies, various baked goods
- Include in savory dishes or sauces
- With a high power blender cupuacu may be processed into a nut butter, vegan nut milk or sauce amongst many other creative opportunities.
We originally found cupuacu in search of novel lattes and cacao lattes. Our current product is a whole bean unprocessed however in South America the beans have been further processed to make a chocolate like alternative called “cupulate”. This incudes using cupulate to make a hot chocolate like or cacao latte like beverage.
*contains theobromine. Therefore similar to chocolate do not feed to pets