December 19, 2023
INTRODUCING: KUMASI DRINKS
YOU CAN'T MAKE CHOCOLATE OUT OF IT, SO WE TURN IT INTO SOFT DRINKS
“We squeeze cacao fruit, not the farmer. That’s our motto. Kumasi started as a wild idea with three cocoa farmers, and now we collaborate with over 400 farmers in Ghana who earn extra income from their harvest. Next year, we are opening a ‘cacao fruit juice’ facility in Ivory Coast.”
Kumasi Drinks originated during the making of a documentary about the cocoa industry by Lars Gierveld and Jochem Pinxteren. In the Ashanti region in Ghana, in the capital of that region, Kumasi, they visited several farmers who are completely dependent on cocoa sales, yet they live below the poverty line. “This needs to change, we thought. That’s why we started with a group of farmers near Kumasi to collect cocoa fruit juice, as this byproduct of cocoa is really a delicious fruit juice, we saw potential.”
COCOA FRUIT JUICE
The juicy flesh around the cocoa bean is healthy and exceptionally tasty. It does not taste like cocoa or chocolate but rather like a mix of lychee, mango, and white peach. Normally, it flows away when the cocoa fruit is opened. Strangely enough, the industry has been interested only in the beans, from which they make chocolate, for centuries. But the juice is ideal for making extra tasty beverages.
The ingredients in Kumasi Drinks are 100% natural and contain no added sugars. It’s delicious enough as it is.
Cocoa fruit juice normally goes to waste. By turning it into soft drinks, Kumasi not only reduces food waste but also provides a 30% (!) additional income per kilogram of cocoa for farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
They have been on the market with Kumasi Sappi (without bubbles) and Kumasi Gassi (with bubbles) for almost three years. Both beverages are made from cocoa fruit juice. In 2024, more cocoa fruit products will be introduced to the Dutch market.
Since July 2023, they have rented a space in the Central Market Hall, where the three Cs apply entirely to KUMASI Drinks: Creative, evident in the appearance alone; Culinary, and Circular, representing the whole story. The affinity with the former wholesale market is clear.
Photos by Chris van Houts