In Conversation with Our Friend Kayoko Hamamoto from Coconama


History of Coconama & Kayoko’s Story:

  • Coconama only started using cocoa beans five years ago. They used to buy bulk chocolate from Europe.
  • Previously, Kayoko was responsible for sourcing cocoa beans for a company in Japan.
  • Currently, Coconama sources beans from EMKAO and another supplier. The other supplierprovides beans from Guatemala, Bolivia, and Belize.
  • Coconama is only using EMKAO beans for chocolate workshops currently, because the flavour profiles of Cameroonian beans is very mild compared to Guatemalan, Bolivian, and beans from Belize. Most workshops are for kids, and they prefer the mild taste of Cameroonian beans.


What are the most important considerations when sourcing cocoa beans?

The taste and flavour of cocoa beans, transparency (ensuring that it’s ethically and sustainably sourced), transparency in terms of cost as well. What percentage of revenue is given to farmers, and what percentage is taken by the company?

When you’re tasting the cocoa beans, what flavour profiles do you go for?


Depends on the end product flavour (sometimes looking for floral, fruity) - the flavour profiles of the beans need to match the end flavour goal.


How would you find suppliers, if you needed to find a new source?

This is a difficult question! I’ve never tried to look for new suppliers. If I were to look for specific flavour profiles, I would go based on specific origins (I know that Ecuadorian beans, for example, provide a floral flavour).
When I receive samples, I roast the beans in-house, with different temperatures (low to high) which results in different flavours. I’ll do this with every bean I receive before committing to ordering in large quantities.