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What varietes of cocoa are there ?

Various types of cocoa beans are needed to meet the demands of the complex chocolate and cocoa-derived product market. Food safety, efficiency and cost effectiveness are key factors alongside consumer demands for taste and quality.

Today, three different types of trees are used in chocolate production:

  • The Criollo, the rarest species. It is extremely vulnerable to a variety of environmental threats.
  • The Forastero, the most commonly grown type of cocoa. It is much hardier and less susceptible to diseases.
  • The Trinitario, a natural biological hybrid resulting from cross-pollination of the Criollo and Forastero.

Around 80% of the world’s cocoa originates from the Forastero bean, 15% from Trinitario and the remaining 5% from Criollo.

The world cocoa market distinguishes between two broad cocoa bean categories:

  • ‘Fine’ or ‘flavour’ cocoa beans
  • ‘Bulk’ or ‘ordinary’ cocoa beans.

As a generalisation, fine or flavour cocoa beans are produced from Criollo or Trinitario cocoa tree varieties, while bulk cocoa beans come from Forastero trees. Exception to this generalisation: Nacional cocoa trees in Ecuador, which are considered to be Forastero type trees and produce fine or flavour cocoa beans

At Puratos, we believe that controlling the harvest and post-harvest process are also important to producing high quality cocoa beans. However, it also depends on the type of chocolate we are looking for.