'Don't chew the chocolate," instructs chocolate maker Mayumi Ogata. "First sniff the surface, where most of the aromatics are concentrated. Then take a small bite and let it melt over your tongue."

I'm at Bricolage Bread & Co. in Tokyo's Roppongi district, where Ogata is delivering a presentation about cacao — the pod-shaped fruit whose fermented beans are used to produce the main ingredient in chocolate — and Cacao Hunters Japan, the brand she helped to develop in Colombia. There, the company partners with various indigenous communities to source heirloom varieties of cacao for the Cacao Hunters line of premium chocolates.

"Different species of cacao have different characteristics. Some have more bitterness, others more sweetness. The roasted aromas, nutty notes and lime-like acidity are the flavors of fermentation," she explains.