Cocoa varieties

What are the different varieties of cacao?

*Classic varieties:

Photo of cocoa fruits
Photo of cocoa fruits

There are three classic varieties of the cocoa plant.

  • Creole cocoa : It is the primitive variety, the one that grew in Central America when the Spanish settlers arrived.

It is considered a variety of “fine or aromatic” cocoa so it is very appreciated for obtaining cocoa powder with which will produce chocolates of much sweeter quality and with less bitterness than in the rest of varieties.

The fruit has a very soft bark and the rounded and white or violet seeds have a lower tannin content.

It is grown mainly in Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Indonesia, Indonesia, New

Photo of seeds and cocoa pulp
Photo of seeds and cocoa pulp

Guinea, Java, Sri Lanka. At the moment it occupies only 10% of the world production although its cultivation is being extended and it is being tried to introduce it in the African countries like the Cameroon.

  • Outsider cocoa (“Forastero” type) : It is the most abundant variety since it represents 90% of the world production. It is known as “ordinary cocoa” It is grown mainly in West Africa and Brazil. It is not used alone, since it has little flavor and aroma so it is combined with the previous one.
  • Trinitarian: It comes from a variety obtained in the island of Trinidad by crossing the two previous species. It is more aromatic than the outsider and more resistant than the Creole.
  • Recent varieties: Among the most recent varieties obtained by hybridization stands out Cocoa CCN51: It is a variety obtained in Ecuador.

It is characterized by its resistance to diseases and by the high productivity of the trees obtained that exceed in 4 times the yield of the classic varieties.

The fruits contain a very high proportion of fat and very little peel. From it, you get very fine chocolates. Indonesia is one of the countries where this variety is most cultivated.

The production of cocoa in the world

According to FAO, in 2004, 3.3 million tons were produced worldwide. The main producing countries of the world are: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador and Colombia.

Most of the importing countries prefer the cocoa bean (dry seed) to grind it in their own country. The main countries importing cocoa beans are the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom and France. The main supplier countries are Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria,

Germany, France, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada and Switzerland are the main importers of cocoa butter, while Spain, France, the United States and Canada are the main importers of defatted cocoa paste. The United States, Germany, France and the Netherlands are the main importers of cocoa powder.

The largest consumers of chocolate in the world are the United States, Germany, United Kingdom and France.

Quality standards of cocoa for export

In order to be exported, cocoa needs to comply with the so-called International Cocoa Standards, which refer to the following aspects:

To be fermented. Cocoa when it is fermented produces substances such as vanillic acid, which are responsible for its nuances of aromas.

  • To be completely dried
  • Not to have grains that smell like smoke or other abnormal odors
  • Lack of evidence of adulteration
  • To be reasonably free from live insects, broken grains, fragments and parts of shell
  • To be reasonably uniform in size.

*Related information: History and legends about cocoa

punto rojo More information on cocoa and chocolate

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

9 January, 2022

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