From the Ecuadorian rainforest to the chocolate factory
To’ak was born from a rainforest conservation project and is proudly based in Ecuador—the native origin of cacao.
We’re responsibly sourcing extremely high-quality cacao, at prices that accurately reflect the quality and conservation value it represents
We’re also using cacao trees to help restore forest on degraded agricultural land.
Meet Some of Our Team
Don Divino is a proud third-generation Ecuadorian cacao farmer.
Jerry started the rainforest conservation project in Ecuador. In 2006, he laid down roots in Ecuador, where he co-founded TMA (Third Millennium Alliance). Read more
Jerry studied at the London School of Economics and Cornell University. In 2006, he laid down roots in Ecuador, where he co-founded TMA (Third Millennium Alliance), a rainforest conservation NGO. In 2013, he co-founded To’ak.
Born and raised in Quito, Dennise is To'ak's general manager.
Carl is the primary creative force behind To’ak’s branding and chocolate. Read more
Carl is an Austrian native and long-time Ecuadorian resident with advanced degrees in communications, graphic design, and branding. In 2013 he co-founded To’ak and took the role of Brand Director. He also discovered a true passion for the organoleptic aspect of chocolate and took the lead in crafting the unique flavor profiles of To’ak’s wide range of products. Besides branding and chocolate, he loves to be with family, spend time in nature and play basketball.
CEO & Partner
James dreamed about working with chocolate since he can remember. The dream came true when he met Carl, Dennise and Jerry.
Luis is a proud member of the Piedra de Plata community. He manages a small organic and biodiverse cacao farm.
Nobody wraps chocolate bars faster and with more precision than Diana.
Venecia leads our customer experience program and manages our socials from To'ak HQ in Quito.
Our Beliefs and Commitments
We believe that nature is the ultimate expression of luxury. As a company that grows and purchases cacao, we are committed to sourcing our cacao from farms that don't just sustain our biodiversity but actively help regenerate the biodiversity that we have lost through land clearing, slash-and-burn agriculture, mono-cropping, and commercial agriculture. To'ak is one of a select group of chocolate brands championing regenerative cacao.
Read more about some of the steps we've taken to protect biodiversity.
- To'ak is working with the conservation organization, Third Millennium Alliance (TMA), to plant shade-grown cacao on previously cleared land. The project combines cacao trees with a diversity of tall native shade trees, fruit trees, and other food crops as a means to reverse deforestation.
- To'ak goes beyond Fair Trade and Direct Trade models of sourcing to Sustainable Trade.
Now that's something to be happy about!
Recognizing the True Cost of Food
To’ak pays cacao growers the highest farmgate prices of any chocolate company in the continent: 3-9x more than the Fair Trade price.
Read our Transparency Report for a detailed run down and comparison of cacao prices
A Natural Curiousity
Our team relishes the opportunity to explore and share the many facets of the cacao tree. Over the years, we have experimented and innovated in the following areas.
Our obsession with the legend of Ancient Nacional led us to the small community of Piedra de Plata, where we worked with fourth-generation cacao farmers to test their trees genetically and secure the coveted Heirloom Cacao Certification. We recognized one of the ways to incentivize the protection of these rare cacao trees was to pay farmers for the genetic quality of their trees. We're also actively protecting and reviving Ancient Nacional cacao by creating a genetic bank of these trees in what we call the Noah's Ark of Nacional cacao. As of 2022, we are investigating the feasibility of paying farmers a premium based on the biodiversity of their farms.
As chocolate makers who also appreciate wine and whisky, the idea of aging chocolate struck us as an exciting concept. Winemakers and whisky distillers have been using the phenomenon of aging to their advantage for centuries. In the world of chocolate, the concept of aging had never been thoroughly examined prior to To'ak's aging program. Starting in 2013, we initiated the world's first-ever long-term aging program for dark chocolate, with some of our chocolate being aged for upwards of five years. The innovation was developed with input from the enology department of Washington University and has been extended to aging in barrels such as cognac, whisky, bourbon, tequila, mezcal, sotol, rum, PX sherry, sauternes, and gin. We invite you to experience this utterly unique flavor innovation first-hand.
Cacao is about more than just chocolate. It’s also a superfruit. While the seeds of the cacao fruit are used to make chocolate, the sweet and nutritious pulp that encases those seeds is discarded during the chocolate-making process. Our desire not to waste the great tasting and nutritious pulp led our team to co-found the world's first upcycled cacao fruit soda. Xoca was born in the rainforest, not the factory.
Quality over Quantity
To’ak chocolate is produced like a vintage wine, aged like a whisky, packaged like a work of art, and sourced from the rarest and most prized cacao variety on earth.
As tree-to-bar chocolate makers, we draw heavily from the techniques and tradition of both winemakers and whisky distilleries. As with wine, the flavor characteristics of dark chocolate vary according to the soil and climate in which the cacao was grown. At To’ak, we make our chocolate to express the land and weather idiosyncrasies of each specific year.
We invite you to explore the flavor and aroma complexity of Nacional cacao. You may enjoy the following resources as part of your chocolate appreciation journey.
To'ak is entirely designed and crafted in Ecuador. While it would have been easier to build a luxury chocolate brand in Europe or the USA, we're proud to have built To'ak in Ecuador.
Ecuador is not only considered the birthplace of cacao, but it also has one of the richest natural diversity on the planet and the most talented artisans.
Throughout the development of our brand, we have gone to great lengths to celebrate our Ecuadorian identity and the rich cultural history of this region.
Fine chocolate is a journey for the senses. We've elevated the journey by collaborating with some of Ecuador's most celebrated and emerging artists. Our flagship chocolate bar, selected by Gordon Ramsay, carries a certified and numbered print by Oswaldo Guayasamin and a preserved bean from one of our sixteen DNA-verified Ancient Nacional cacao trees.
Alchemy, our latest addition to the To'ak family, was made in collaboration with eight emerging artists and indigenous ingredients from Ecuador's four biodiversity hotspots (the Amazon, the Andes, the Pacific Coast, and the Galapagos).
Read our origin story to learn more about what is takes to create the world's most valuable chocolate.