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Enjoying Nature


Based on the historical and archaeological records available to us the consensus is that Maca originated in the high Andes of Peru around the province of Junin.  Like many other tubers and roots, this cruciferous vegetable grew natively and wildly in the high mountains surrounding lake Chinchaycocha (a.k.a. lake Junin).  This very large (529.88 km2 or 204.59 sq mi) lake’s presence is important because it creates a micro-climate that generates more annual precipitation, allowing native plants to grow easily.  Scientists postulate that the first human settlers in the area, the Pumpush, discovered that Maca roots were a good source of food as early as 10,000 years ago.  And archaeological researchers have discovered ancient roots in a cave several kilometers east of the lake and date them from this era. They suggest this as evidence that wild Maca roots were gathered and used as a main source of food during this time. This is certainly the earliest evidence we have of the use of Maca and places its origin clearly in a region northeast of the modern-day town of Junin, in a region called Ondores. Several locals also confirm that in their oral tradition Ondores is considered the “birth place” of Maca.


Kokoa Kamili Fermentery was founded by Brian LoBue and Simran Bindra, who have backgrounds in international development throughout eastern and southern Africa. Prior to Kokoa Kamili, a single buyer dominated the area – the local arm of one of the world’s largest soft commodity trading houses. A sole buyer meant it had the power to set the price for cocoa, and farmers had little alternatives. Historically, farmers in the Kilombero Valley received some of the lowest prices for cocoa in the country. In Kokoa Kamili’s first year alone Kilombero farmers received the highest prices in Tanzania for their cocoa.

Today, Kokoa Kamili works with nearly 3000 smallholder farmers, most of whom farm between 0.5-2 acres of cocoa. Kokoa Kamili pays a premium–well above the market rate–to farmers for their ‘wet’ cocoa, and conducts its own fermentation and drying. By taking over the fermentation and drying process, Kokoa Kamili can produce more consistently higher quality cocoa beans. This method gives farmers a reduced workload, along with greater compensation, and the farmers are paid immediately after the cooperative receives its wet beans.

Kokoa Kamili also distributes cocoa seedlings to farmers in the community. In the past three years, they have aided in the planting of over 140,000 trees.

Kokoa Kamili is situated in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, an area known for its abundance of bird and mammal wildlife. It is most famous for the eleven different primate species, bird life, and is one of three remaining sites that support Savannah Elephants in a mountainous environment. Current estimates say that 2,000 elephants reside in and around the Udzungwa area.

  • Type: Central Fermentary

  • Location: Mbingu Village, Morogoro Region, Tanzania

  • Certification: Organic

  • Tasting Notes: Cherry, Coffee, Lemon

  • Varieties: Trinitario, Nacional hybrid seedlings

  • Fermentation Style: 3-tier wooden boxes locally sourced and constructed eucalyptus. 6 day ferment.

  • Drying Style: 100% sun dried on raised drying tables. Direct and indirect sunlight.

  • Elevation: 600 to 2000 feet

  • Harvest Season: August to November

  • Butter Fat Content: 56%

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