Rescuing fine aroma cocoa plantations

Located in the crib of the Arriba flavor, the Guayas basin in Ecuador, these two estates feature 17-year-old National-variety cocoa plantations currently being rehabilitated by 12Tree.

Haciendas Limón and Guantupí are cocoa farm set across 260 hectares planted with a National cocoa variety known as “Arriba”, a rare, fine cacao Ecuadorian variety currently threatened by the spread of CCN51 a more productive variety.

Soils have been shaped by volcanic activity, they are fertile, deep, well-structured, have a high organic matter content and moisture retention, and good drainage. Topography is mostly flat with a few moderate slopes. The farm is at roughly 120 m.a.s.l with an average yearly rainfall of 2,785 mm. The main operation of the farm will be fine cocoa production.

Current average cocoa yields are low due to lack of fertilization, inadequate pruning, and high incidence of pests and diseases. 12Tree is rehabilitating the plantation with a new drip irrigation system, organic fertiliation, corrective pruning and both corrective and preventive treatment of pests and diseases. A new post-harvest infrastructure and equipment is being put in place.

The genetic materials planted in Haciendas Limon and Guantupí since 1998 were developed by INIAP (National Institute of Agricultural Research) genetic collections. These materials are of the highest possible quality and correspond to the most demanding chocolate makers' criteria. Cocoa beans from Guantupí and Limon are certified Heirloom Cacao and have won international awards, including:

  • Good Food Awards 2018: Winner

  • The International Chocolate Salon 2017: various Bronze and Silver awards

  • Academy of Chocolate 2016: Silver and Gold

  • Academy of Chocolate 2015: Bronze

  • Great Taste Awards 2015: 2 x Gold stars



REGION: Quevedo, Ecuador

SIZE: 260 Ha

MANPOWER: 24 in 2018, reaching 47 in 2019

FARM TYPE: Multi-variety fine flavor cocoa

COCOA VARIETIES: EET-19-103-95-96-48, EETP800 and EETP801, CCN51

RAINFALL: 2,785 mm/year

ALTITUDE: 120 m.a.s.l

SOIL: Fertile, deep, and well-drained Andisols

APPROACH: Organic farming


  • Full-sun

  • Plant rehabilitation

  • Corrective pruning

  • Fertigation

  • Genetic diversity of locally developed and climate adapted cocoa varieties

CERTIFICATION: UTZ-certified by 2021


Carlos Escobar,

Juan Jaramillo,