TCHO Source: The Cocoa Flavour Lab and Training Centre at CRIG

August 09, 2021
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All we accomplish at TCHO is a result of many collaborative partnerships. 

We work hard to develop and maintain long term and mutually beneficial relationships with many cocoa organizations and professionals.

One of these incredible partners is the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG). TCHO and CRIG have collaborated closely since 2013. Back in December 2013, TCHO installed a modest one room TCHO Flavor Lab at CRIG. Funding for this lab was possible from CRIG, TCHO, and the Ghana Quality Innovations (GQI) program – a subprogram of the USAID-funded African Cocoa Initiative (WCF/ACI).

The TCHO Flavor Lab at CRIG, both the space and the equipment, have been extremely well utilized. The lab enables the team at CRIG to make cocoa liquor samples and conduct sensory analysis, a service CRIG previously outsourced to laboratories in Europe.

The sensory panel at CRIG is composed of scientists and staff from different departments who evaluate cacao samples from all throughout Ghana. The team at CRIG also prepares cacao samples with different harvest and postharvest treatments to train farmers throughout Ghana on best practices for good quality cacao production. Additionally, they advise national plant breeding strategies that will help shape the Ghanaian cacao industry and positively impact Ghanaian farmers for years to come.  Furthermore, the lab provides samples for CRIG to share at international trade fairs to showcase the flavors of Ghana. 

International delegations from several cocoa producing countries, as well as many actors in Ghana’s cocoa sector, have all come to the Flavor Lab at CRIG for training on the production of cocoa liquor and sensory analysis of cocoa.

To help solve CRIG’s space issue, TCHO has worked with the Ghana Cocoa Board to commit funding for the construction of a new stand-alone building fully dedicated to cacao flavor research and training on the CRIG campus in New Tafo. This will be an important resource towards our ultimate goal of preserving cocoa flavor quality in Ghana and across West Africa, as well as ensuring farmers are appropriately compensated for the high quality cacao they produce.

The Cocoa Flavour Lab and Training Centre at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana will include a multi-room lab space for physical analysis of cacao beans, preparation of cacao beans into cacao liquor, sensory analysis of cacao, as well as offices for CRIG scientists and visiting researchers and a large training room.  

Days after this groundbreaking ceremony, the world first began speaking of and experiencing the COVID-19 virus. Our project timeline came to a halt for many months.  However, this pause allowed COCOBOD’s leadership to review the project and increase their contribution to the building. The final building will welcome guests at the forefront of CRIG’s campus and house influential research and educational training focused on cocoa quality for years to come. Construction safely began onsite in early 2021. Here are a few pictures of the updated construction designs, as well as initial construction progress pictures and video.

Last updated 2.14.22