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Interview: Jan Schubert, Conservation Leader at Original Beans Chocolate

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“I would say… for the farmers we’re working with, [for] eighty percent of them cacao is the most important income solution, but for zero percent it’s their only income.”

-Jan Schubert, Conservation Leader at Original Beans Chocolate

Jan Schubert works in the cocoa industry in Latin America, largely in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. Focusing on conservation in cocoa-growing areas, his efforts & the efforts of his team have led to the planting of over 2.4 million trees in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas. ‘One bar, one tree’ is the motto of Original Beans Chocolate.

So what is happening on the ground, in the world’s oldest cocoa-growing regions? After well over a decade working with cacao in South America, Jan had a lot to say on the topic. From a hostel in Colombia, we dive into post-harvest improvements from farmers, rare cacao varietals, and potential value-adds in-country. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation as much as I enjoyed having it.

Note that the idea of the end of chocolate as we know it was the focus of my interview with Jan, with the end product being this podcast episode titled Is Chocolate Going Extinct?


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Jan in the South American rain forest.

Topics We Cover

  • how Jan got involved in cacao in the first place, and how he came to work at Original Beans
  • the conservation-specific work Original Beans does in the Americas
  • farmers’ efforts to improve cocoa quality, and the results therein
  • obstacles in improving cacao farmers’ production volume and access to market
  • prices farmers need in order to stick with cocoa production
  • industrial cocoa farming vs. small-scale cocoa farming
  • governmental intervention in increasing cocoa cultivation
  • climate change’s impact upon cacao farming

Connect With Jan & Original Beans

Original Beans Chocolate’s Website.

Original Beans Chocolate on Instagram

Original Beans Chocolate on Facebook,

Shop for Original Beans Chocolate

Connect With Chocolate On The Road

On Instagram: @chocolateontheroad

On Facebook: @chocolateontheroad

Show music is Roadtrip by Phil Reavis, and our transition music is We’re Gonna Be Around by People Like Us & Sweet Dreams by Lobo Loco.

To listen to the previous episode, click here.

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