‘Theobroma cacao’ is the botanical name for the cocoa tree. A word with its origins in the Greek language, ‘theobroma’ translates to ‘Food of the Gods’. An apt name for the wondrous plant that gives us one of life’s greatest elixirs – chocolate! It’s the fermented and dried beans of the cocoa tree that are processed to make cocoa powder and chocolate. The cocoa tree is believed to have originated in the fertile Amazon Basin in Central America. First discovered and consumed by the ancient Olmec Indian and later, by the Mayans and the Aztecs, the magic cocoa beans were taken to the rest of the world by the Spanish. But not before they kept it a safely-guarded secret for nearly a century.
Types of Cocoa beans
Meaning ‘native’ in Spanish, Criollo cocoa beans are also known as ‘flavour beans’. They have a distinct reddish colour and a complex taste. Unfortunately, a low resistance to diseases make these beans scarce compared to other varieties.
Meaning ‘foreigner’ in Spanish, Forastero cocoa beans were originally found in the Amazon region. Commonly known as ‘bulk beans’, they are available in larger quantities and cultivated for mass production. A major portion of the world’s chocolate comes from Forastero and a blend of Forastero beans.
At Cocoacraft, we use the more easily available Forastero beans.
Trinitario beans come from a hybrid of the Criollo and Forastero trees, and are originally from Trinidad. They are a heady combination of the rich, full-bodied flavour of Criollo and the strong resistance of the Forastero.