To’ak was born from a rainforest conservation project that co-founder Jerry Toth started in Ecuador in 2007. Through his nonprofit foundation Third Millennium Alliance (TMA), he helped create the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve, which currently protects over 560 hectares (1,400 acres) of tropical forest along the coastal mountain range. It was here that he began cultivating cacao trees and making chocolate by hand in a thatched bamboo house secluded in the middle of the forest.
Derived from a fusion of ancient dialects in Ecuador, the name To’ak (pronounced Toe-Ahk) means “earth” and “tree,” which together represent the true source of all chocolate. We liken this name to the French term terroir, which describes how the taste of an artisanal product (wine, cheese, chocolate) expresses the specific soil and climate conditions of the land on which it was grown.
To’ak works hand-in-hand with a small group of cacao growers in Piedra de Plata and pays them the highest price per pound in all of Ecuador. All wood used in To’ak’s packaging is directly replenished through the planting of native hardwood trees by the entire To’ak team in partnership with the Ecuador-based rainforest conservation foundation Third Millennium Alliance (TMA).
To’ak also donates 1% of its sales to TMA as part of the global philanthropy movement 1% for the Planet. To’ak is working with local farmers, conservationists, and multiple universities to protect the world’s oldest and rarest variety of cacao and nurse it back from the brink of extinction.