The 31-year-old agronomist is in search of a hardier and more prolific cocoa tree. His progress - and that of researchers like him in other cocoa growing regions - is being closely watched by some of the biggest players in the confectionery world, such as Mars, maker of M&M's, and Blommer Chocolate, a chocolate supplier to many major food companies.
Driving the efforts to find better trees are concerns that farmed cocoa now comes from plants that are too old, fragile and low-yielding to satisfy the world's growing taste for chocolate.
Due to rising demand in emerging markets, food companies and commodity traders are forecasting that global consumption of cocoa will surge by 25 per cent, to about five million tonnes, by 2020.
Industry officials and market experts say new and better cocoa plants are vital to future supplies - and to keeping chocolate an affordable luxury.
"I'm looking for an elite plant. That's the goal," Mr Pinchi said. "There are a lot of people who depend on cocoa."
Time, though, is running out. The process of grafting different kinds of cocoa trees to achieve the right genetic mix takes years, and it is far from a sure thing. Once planted, it takes at least four years for the trees to start bearing cocoa beans fit for processing.
"For the long term health of the cocoa industry, high-yielding cocoa varieties need to be identified, propagated and distributed," said Kip Walk, head of cocoa at chocolate supplier Blommer.
In the meantime, existing trees continue to struggle with the forces of nature.
In West Africa, the world's biggest cocoa-growing region, blasts of hot wind earlier this year seared plants.
The prospect of a damaged harvest has pushed cocoa prices up 15 per cent from a three-year low hit in early December 2011. Cocoa futures ended at $US2223 ($2143) a tonne, down 3.1 per cent for the day.
Given the fragile state of cocoa trees under cultivation and strong demand, it is only a matter of time before a shortage of cocoa emerges and prices surge, said Julian Rundle, chief investment officer at Dorset Management, an alternative-investment manager.
"The major move, when it comes, is going to be a bull move," Mr Rundle predicted - meaning prices will rise.
Already, demand for cocoa is forecast to outpace supply this year by 71,000 tonnes, according to estimates from the London-based International Cocoa Organisation.
Only a fraction of the thousands of varieties of cocoa trees in existence are grown to produce the world's chocolate, because farming cocoa has historically been a low-margin business that hasn't attracted investment.
This practice of growing genetically similar plants leaves entire populations vulnerable if they are stricken with a disease for which they have no resistance.
Splashing through a sudden rainstorm, Mr Pinchi is out to change that. He weaves among muddy rows of saplings, cradling lemon and lime-coloured pods and checking their weight and size.
He and his team at the Tropical Crops Institute, a research centre in Peru's northern highland jungle, have collected hundreds of cocoa varieties from South America's thick rainforests and are testing their ability to yield more and bigger beans.
Researchers in the Ivory Coast and Ghana are conducting similar work.
The cocoa tree's scientific name is theobroma cacao, which means "food of the gods" in Greek.
As chocolate went from being a treat for special occasions to an everyday indulgence, swathes of rainforest were chopped down in the 1970s and '80s to make room for cocoa farms, which now cover roughly 7.4 million hectares.
But the industry was dealt a blow when a fungus known as witches' broom swept through Brazil. It more than halved Brazil's cocoa output between 1990 and 2010.
Industry executives hope to stave off another cocoa crisis, which is why they are pinning hopes on researchers like Mr Pinchi.
Expanding acreage isn't an option due to widespread opposition to further deforestation in the tropics - the only places cocoa can thrive.
"By 2020, we need another Cote d'Ivoire," said Howard-Yana Shapiro, Mars's director of plant science and external research, referring to the Ivory Coast.
Mr Shapiro led a team that was credited with mapping the genome for the cocoa tree in September 2010. He keeps close tabs on the work conducted by Mr Pinchi's institute and other researchers.
"There are two alternatives. One, we cut down all the trees in the tropics and only plant cocoa, which would be an unmitigated disaster. Or we increase (yields)," Mr Shapiro said.
To be sure, higher prices on chocolate would likely cause demand growth to moderate. Slower growth would mean a target as high as 5 million tonnes a year of cocoa wouldn't be necessary.
While Kona Haque, a commodities strategist at Macquarie Bank, agrees cocoa prices are likely to rise, she says some forecasts calling for the doubling of prices over the long term are extreme.
Increased use of fertiliser can boost output while scientists experiment with different kinds of plants, Ms Haque said.
"Demand will grow steadily, but, with the right price, so can supply," she said. "I'd expect cocoa prices to rise 50 per cent in 10 years."
Mr Pinchi, though, is optimistic that he or one of his colleagues will strike upon the right tree before high prices sour consumers on chocolate.
"The Amazon is the origin of cocoa," he said. "There's a lot of diversity, which gives us many options."