All About Cocoa Beans

If I ask you which of the flavors among Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario cocoa beans do you like the most, what would be your answer?

Perhaps your answer would be…..Ummmm

But if you have been asked about your favourite chocolate then I am pretty much sure that your answer will come out in fractions of seconds.

But did you know! all chocolates made from cocoa beans?

So grab your favorite chocolate and learn all about this amazing cocoa bean plant.


What is a Cocoa Bean?

Cocoa beans are the seeds of the cocoa tree found in its fruits called “pods“.

The term “cocoa” comes from the Spanish word “cacao”, which is derived from the Nahuatl word “cacahuatl”. The botanical name of cacao (or cocoa) tree is THEOBROMA Cacao.

The other common names for Cocoa beans are Cocoa, Cacao, and Cacao bean.

The pod looks like a football that comes in various colors such as green, yellow, orange, red, purple or maroon. Cacao pods are about 8-14 inches long. Most interestingly, it grows directly from the main branches and trunk of the tree, not from the stem like the apple.

When the seeds are extracted from the pod, they are very moist. To make cocoa powder, the seeds need to be roasted to dry up and become powder easily.

Varieties of Cocoa Beans

These are the THREE main varieties cocoa beans:
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Criollo Cocoa Beans

  • It is known as the king of cacaos.
  • In Spanish, Criollo means ‘of local origin’.
  • Less than 1% of the world’s production
  • The Criollo is used in luxury chocolate.
  • It is considered the finest and most aromatic, mild and slightly bitter.
  • Very aromatic and lacks bitterness.
  • The Valrhona Single Origin Palmira bar is a great example of the Criollo bean

Forastero Cocoa Beans

  • Forastero, also known as bulk cocoa, is the most widely grown variety.
  • It makes up around 80% of the world’s cocoa production.
  • In Spanish, It means ‘stranger’.
  • It originated in the Bahia region of Brazil.

Trinitario Cocoa Beans

  • Trinitario is a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero cocoa, originated in Trinidad.
  • It is a blend of “aromas of Criollo” and “hardiness of Forastero”.
  • Trinitario beans make up less than 10% of the total cacao production.
Cocoa Beans Pods

How to Grow Cocoa Beans?

As you know, cacao beans trees grow in tropical climates because it needs hot and moist weather to grow.

So if you live in South America or somewhere else south of the equator, you can definitely grow your own Cocoa beans.

Along with hot and moist, cocoa beans plants also need shade. That’s why it is often grown under other trees such as mango, banana, papaya or rubber trees.

These are the steps to grow cocoa beans:

  • Seedling
  • Maintain temperature
  • Maintain humidity
  • Pollination
  • Pruning
  • Harvesting

For detail, please visit here.


Cocoa Beans Facts

FACT 1. ➤ The botanical name of cacao (or cocoa) tree is Theobroma Cacao. This word is derived from the Greek ‘theos‘, means gods, and ‘broma‘, means food. (Theo + broma = the food of the gods).

FACT 2. ➤ World’s first solid chocolate bar – In 1847, Joseph Fry produced the world’s first solid chocolate bar. After making chocolate bars, he made a treat called Fry’s chocolate cream.

FACT 3. ➤ National Cocoa Day is celebrated on December 13.

FACT 4. ➤ There are THREE main varieties of the cocoa plant: Criollo (Central America), Forastero (West Africa and South America), and Trinitario (all producing regions).

FACT 5. ➤ Largest producer of cocoa beans in the world – Cameroon, Ivory coast, Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria, Ecuador and Brazil are the largest producer of cocoa beans in the world.


FACT 6. ➤ Highest importers of Cocoa beans in the world – The United States, Netherlands, Belgium-Luxembourg and Malaysia are the highest importers of Cocoa beans in the world.

FACT 7. ➤ The cocoa tree grows to be about 30 feet tall bearing white flowers and colourful fruit.

FACT 8. ➤ They are pollinated by flies, NOT bees and occasionally by bats. Most interestingly, pollination usually occurs in the morning and the flowers die within 24 hours if not pollinated.

FACT 9. ➤ The first people to grow cacao trees were the Maya Indians, one of the oldest civilisations on the American continent.

FACT 10. ➤ Cacao Beans as currency – Mayans and Aztec used cacao beans as currency to buy food, clothes and other goods as well as for preparing a bitter drink, known as Xocoatl. For Aztecs, cacao beans were considered more valuable than gold.

FACT 11. ➤ Cocoa trees grow very slowly. It takes about 5 years for a cocoa tree to produce its first seed pods.

FACT 12. ➤ Each tree produces around 1,000 beans a year, which is only enough to make one kilogram of chocolate.

FACT 13. ➤ Montezuma II, The ninth emperor of the Aztecs, was called the King of Chocolate. He was one of the richest men on the planet as he had stores of nearly a billion cocoa beans.

FACT 14. ➤ Cocoa butter is the fattiest part of the bean. This is the white outer edge inside an individual cocoa bean. It is extracted through pressing and high temperature exposure.

FACT 15. ➤ Cacao beans and cocoa beans are NOT the same. The key difference between the two lies in how the cacao bean is processed after harvesting. Cacao beans are dried seeds from pods that are less processed and unroasted. But, cocoa beans are a highly processed form of cacao beans.

FACT 16. ➤ Christopher Columbus, in 1502, first saw cacao beans., during his fourth visit to the New World.

FACT 17. ➤ There are 228 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cocoa beans.

FACT 18. ➤ Health benefits of Cocoa beans are Protects the heart, Maintains blood pressure, Reduce obesity, Treat diabetes, Antioxidant activities, Brain function, Maintains cholesterol level, Treats cancer, Skin problems and many more.

FACT 19. ➤ The largest chocolate consumers in the world are the Germans with a per-capita consumption of 11 kilogrammes in 2018. Switzerland ranked as the second-largest with 9.7 kilogrammes per capita in 2018, followed by Estonia with 8.8 kilogrammes.

FACT 20. ➤ An average cacao tree lives about 200 years, but it only gives cocoa beans for only 25 years.

Health Benefits of Cocoa Bean

  • Maintains blood pressure
  • Antioxidant activities
  • Brain function
  • Maintains cholesterol level
  • Reduced Diabetes Risk
  • Reduced Heart Disease Risk
  • Helpful for bronchial asthma
  • Heal wounds
  • Reduce obesity
  • Cardiovascular functions
  • Enhance mood
  • Prevent constipation
  • Treats cancer
  • Treats deficiency of copper
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Skin problems
  • Neurodegenerative ailments
  • Prevent magnesium deficiency

For more detail, visit here.

20 Healthiest Chocolate Bars You Can Eat

  1. Sea Salt and Almond Organic 80% Dark Chocolate,
  2. EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
  3. Dark Chocolate, 85% Cacao
  4. The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar
  5. Vosges Haut-Chocolat Super Dark Matcha Green Tea
  6. Raaka Pink Sea Salt Chocolate
  7. Dark Chocolate Classic Bundle
  8. Hu Vegan Chocolate Bars
  9. Lake Champlain Chocolates
  10. Lindt Excellence
  11. Bixby & Co. Dark Chocolate Bars
  12. Taza Chocolate
  13. Jcoco Chocolate Bars
  14. Endorfin Foods Turkish Coffee 60% Cacao Chocolate Bar
  15. Theo Chocolate Organic Dark Chocolate 85%
  16. Endangered Species Dark Chocolate With Forest Mint 72%
  17. Pure7 Dark Chocolate Bar 100%
  18. Alter Eco Dark Salted Brown Butter Organic Chocolate Bar 70%
  19. Divine Chocolate 85% Dark Chocolate Bar
  20. JOJO’s Original Guilt-Free Chocolate Bars
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