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Dear Friends-
Kind greetings from Suzanne and I. Apologizes for the delay in getting the new newsletter posted. We have been busy putting up images on the new image database at: http://whitelotus.smugmug.com We still have another 900 images to add which will take place over the period of the coming weeks. When completed it will give a comprehensive view of what the Fragrant Harvest Project in India. Please note that I send out a separate newsletter to all our regular customers which keeps them updated on arrival of new essential oils, attars, co2 extracts etc. If you wish to received that newsletter just send us a note at somanath@aol.com

Many of you love the aroma of cocoa/chocolate so this newsletter is dedicated to that wonderful plant. We stock a cocoa co2 select extract and a liquid cocoa absolute. I can also special order a very thick cocoa absolute if enough customers are interested. OK let us proceed into the exotic realm of Theoborama cacoa.


Common name: Cacao, cocoa, Chocolate Plant
Scientific name: Theobroma cacao
Family: Sterculiaceae
Part of plant used: Seeds
Documented uses: Chocolate has a long historic tie to both the Aztec and Mayan cultures of Mexico and Central America. It is Native to Mexico and Central America.

Small tree usually 4–8 m tall, rarely up to 20 m; at 1–1.5 m the terminal bud breaks into 3–5 meristems to give several lateral upright shoots; primary branching by successive whorls of normally spreading branches; young branchlets terete, grayish green or brownish, densely or sparsely pubescent, with simple or furcate hairs 0.1–0.3 mm long, later glabrate, more or less striate; stipules subulate, very acute, 5–14 mm long, 0.5–1.5 mm broad at base, pubescent, deciduous; leaves large, coriaceous or chartaceous, alternate, distichous on normal branches, green; petiole pubescent or tomentose, with simple, rather dense, spreading hairs, thickened pulvinate at ends; blades 12–60 cm long, 4–20 cm broad, elliptic to obovate-oblong, entire, glabrous; inflorescence on trunk and branches, usually borne on small tubercles in short cymose branchlets, peduncles 1–3 mm long, stellate-pubescent; bracts ovate or ovate-oblong, pubescent; bracteoles ovate-oblong, acute or subacute, 0.5–1.2 mm long, pubescent, deciduous; pedicels capillary, rigid, pale green, whitish or reddish, 5–15 mm long, with stellate or furcate hairs and sparce many-celled, glandular, capitate trichomes; sepals lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, acute, white, greenish-white, pale violaceous or reddish, faintly 3-veined, united at base, 5–8 mm long, 1.5–2 mm broad, with hairs and trichomes; petals contorted in aestivation, thick-membranous, hood 3–4 mm long, 0.5–2 mm wide, obovate, rounded at apex, white, 3-veined, lamina pale yellowish, 1.5–2.5 mm long, 1.5–2 mm broad, obovate, attenuate at apex; staminodes 4–6 mm long, narrowly subulate, red or purplish, minutely papillose-pilose, ciliate, with slender, simple hairs; stamens diantheriferous, with anthers about 0.4 mm long; ovary oblong-ovoid, superior, with 5 carpels; fruits usually considered drupes but referred to as pods, indehiscent, variable in size and shape, 10–32 cm long, spherical to cylindrical, pointed or blunt, smooth or warty, with or without 5 or 10 furrows; pods white, green or red, ripening to green, yellow, red or purple; seeds 20–60 per pod, arranged in 5 rows, variable in size, 2–4 cm long, 1.2–2 cm broad, ovoid or elliptic; cotyledons white to deep purple, convoluted, large. Seeds/kg 625–1125. Roots mostly a mass of surface-feeding roots, with taproot penetrating to 2 m in friable soil, less deeply where compacted (Reed, 1976).

History and Culture of Chocolate
a written treatise by Mark Sciscenti

Chocolate really does grow on trees although not as little chocolates. Chocolate comes from the seeds of the tree Theobroma cacao (T. cacao), a tropical rainforest tree. The Mesoamericans (including the Mayans and Aztecs) were consuming chocolate as a drink dating to at least 3500 years ago. They considered chocolate literally to be the food of the gods. The chocolate tree was given the latin name Theobroma cacao, which means ‘Food of the Gods’, by the 18th century botanist C. Linnaeus in 1753, who was a known chocolate lover. It is not known whether Linnaeus knew about the pre-Columbian peoples beliefs concerning chocolate.

Natural History of Theobroma cacao
The chocolate tree is indigenous to the Americas, originating in South America in the upper Orinoco River basin, in the Venezuelan Amazon and in Central America. The Theobroma genus is several million years old and belongs in the family Sterculiaceae, which also includes the genus Cola nitida - the kola tree native to Africa. Within the Theobroma genus there are many plants related to T. cacao that produce fruit and up to 70 wild species. However the main Theobroma species that produces the seeds which are made into chocolate is Theobroma cacao.

The origination of T. cacao is shrouded in mystery. This species is thought to be about 10 to 15 thousand years old and seems to have differentiated from the other theobroma species through association with humans. Several conflicting theories abound as to where or how T. cacao originated and include: T. cacao came from the Orinoco area in the Amazon and humans spread the seeds and/or plants through trade; or T. cacao was found wild throughout Central America and in Northern South America and later domesticated in Central America.

There are three main subspecies of Theobroma cacao, all of which are connected to humans through domestication and agriculture. They are: T. cacao subsp. criollo, T. cacao subsp. forastero and T. cacao subsp. trinitario. Interestingly, Theobroma cacao criollo’s genome is smaller then T. cacao forastero. The forastero genome has a larger diversity with attributes and a genetic make up similar to the wild varieties of other Theobromas. A larger genome would allow for better survival of the species and this fact suggests that there was a human-mediated influence on criollo to create better tasting seeds which eventually resulted in a decrease of the genetic makeup. Since the forastero’s home originated in the same area as the whole Theobroma genus, this genetic difference leads me to believe that T. cacao supsp. criollo may have originated in the same area but differentiated from the main T. cacao group and was slowly selected for better seed flavor and traded or brought northward by humans. Long distance trades routes linking Mesoamerican and northern South America have been established and dates to about 1600 B.C. Many of the related Theobroma species including T. bicolor, T. angustifolium, T. pentagonum, T. speciosum were and are raised for their largish fruits which contain the fruit pulp and seeds but only the pulp is eaten and the seeds are mainly discarded. Though there is no evidence for South American peoples using cacao seeds for making chocolate there is another reason for cacao to have been traded: “The impetus for the spread of cacao cultivation in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and northern South America might have been fascination with the seeds as a source of addictive, even hallucinogenic substances, of use in popular mystical and ritualistic ceremonies.”1 More on that subject later. Another reason may have been that T. cacao may have been bred for bigger pods for the fruit pulp. Only time and recent ongoing genetic research will unravel this mystery. Whatever the case, only in what is now know as Southern Mexico and Central America did T. cacao become domesticated and selected for it’s better tasting seeds.

Wild criollo types were (and are) found in Venezuela and in three places in Southern Mexico in Chiapas and in Guatemala and it is widely agreed that this was the first variety that was domesticated by the Mesoamericans. Wild and semi-domesticated varieties of forastero were (and are) found only in the Orinoco River basin of the Amazon. Trinitario is a hybrid between the original two types developed sometime in the early 1760’s by ‘accident’ on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. Within these subspecies there are many forms, cultivars and varieties. For instance it seems that the original criollo species grown and used by the Pre-Columbian peoples was T. cacao subsp. cacao form lacandonense, T. cacao subsp. cacao form lagarto (pentagona) and several others.

The History of Chocolate
[Jack Weatherford's history of Chocolate]

For many millennia Cacao grew in the understory of the tropical rainforest the northern Amazon basin. Together with the plethora of plants, animals and insects of the rainforest, it thrived in the shade on the forest floor and lived on the nutrients and water passed down from the canopy above.

The history of this this popular plant's use is somewhat clouded by numerous wildly conflicting stories. The myths, legends, propaganda and inaccuracies in the history of Chocolate are profound. Especially suspect are the manufacturers websites!! I have tried to discard the sloppy and biased stories that are clearly inaccurate, but that still leaves some questions!

Cacao has been a cultivated crop for at least 3,000 years, probably quite a bit more. Before that it is certain that the seeds of wild Cacao trees were gathered. Initially a few Cacao trees would be planted just inside the heavy rainforest, mixed with both wild and cultivated understory plants. Eventually that grew to more specific plots of Cacao, still under the canopy and within the rainforest.

The people who first utilized Cacao were the inhabitants of what is now Venezuela in northwestern South America, where the tree is native. I strongly suspect that they created Cacao as we know it, just as the Inca created the potato using their rather advanced genetic technology. (Most high production food plants, certainly including Potatoes, Squash, Maize (corn) and Bananas, were engineered over many generations by the natives of their respective areas to produce large and plentiful fruit.) The Olmec Civilization (3500 to 2500 years ago) consumed the beverage and it was used to fortify soldiers during marches and in battle.

Cacao was clearly highly valued by these people and they spread it northward through trade with their neighbors. It was probably the Maya, over 1500 years ago, who brought Cacao to Yucatan in what is now Mexico. Maya urns were often decorated with images of Cacao Pods. The Aztecs who got Cacao from the Maya, used Cacao in a number of ways, one common way was as a bitter spice in food (such as today's Molé sauce). The common people often used Cacao as a spice, and possibly also as a base for pasta or bread.

The most well known way that Cacao was used (and the way that made the deepest impression on the European conquerors) was as a drink. The beans were toasted, ground up, put in hot water and often a bit of maize, vanilla or chilies were added to create the beverage of the Emperor. The water had to be extremely hot for the mixture to work, and from that came the phrase, still used in Mexico, Like Water for Chocolate to mean as hot as anything you can imagine. It seems likely that consumption of this drink was limited to nobility, priesthood, and ritual occasions. (Mixtecs and Oaxaca used it in marriage rites of nobles and deities.) While the Maya drank Chocolate hot, the Aztecs seem to have often taken it cold. The term 'food of the gods', (the origin of the genus name Theobroma) is not Aztec, nor Maya, it was coined by a European in the 17th century!

Cultural And Traditional Uses Of Chocolate During The Pre-Columbian Times By The Mesoamericans - The Mayan And Aztec Peoples (Preliminary information, to be updated)

Theobroma cacao, the Chocolate tree, originated in the Americas. It was first domesticated some 4000 years ago by the Mesoamericans in southern Mexico and Central America and by other cultures in northern areas of South America. The word kakawa is from a Mesoamerican language spoken by the Olmec peoples and refers to the cacao tree and chocolate. The first variety of chocolate tree domesticated and grown was Criollo. Criollo, along with Trinaterio, is considered to be the finest flavor chocolate in the world. Chocolate made from the criollo and trinaterio beans is the most luscious and complex in flavor leaving lingering flavors on the palate. Currently these two types of chocolate beans make up less then 20% of the worlds cocoa crop.

Recent evidence has shown that the Mayans were drinking chocolate sometime before 600 BC. Historic artifacts such as ceramic drinking and burial vessels contained chocolate. Pre and post European transgression documentation, artwork and artifacts indicate that the cacao beans and chocolate were highly prized items among the Mesoamericans. The Mayan and Aztec people considered chocolate a supremely sacred substance to be made into a drink. It was a gift from the gods and referred to as the food of the gods. These sacred chocolate drinks were consumed in ritual fashion primarily by the rulers, the lords, the wealthy merchants and the warriors. During festivals and weddings commoners, as well as those living in the cacao growing areas, also consumed ritual chocolate. Chocolate was primarily made into a highly spiced rich drink with water and served unsweetened. Sometimes chocolate was flavored with agave syrup or honey to make a bittersweet drink A large variety of spices, flowers, herbs, nuts, seeds, leaves, grasses and vines were put into the chocolate and mixed in many combinations to create myriad flavors. Cultural favorites were chilis, vanilla, and maize. These substances were ground with the cacao beans into a paste which was then made into a drink. This chocolate paste was also formed into wafers or bricks and dried for later use. They stored easily, traveled well and were made into a chocolate drink when needed.

Chocolate & Mesoamerican Cosmology

The ancient Mesoamericans, the Maya and the Aztec, consumed chocolate as a liquid drink. This drink was a rich, strong, unsweetened or bittersweet and spicy concoction.

The cultivation and use of cacao and chocolate, believed to have begun by the Olmec peoples of Mexico, dates back to approximately 1500 BC. Current genetic information dates the use of cacao to over 4000 years ago.

The Mayan peoples historically loved hot chocolate and learned the use of cacao by the late Olmec peoples and their decedents. There is detailed evidence of Mayan use of cacao and chocolate dating as far back as 600 BC.

Many of their creation myths in the Popol Vuh refer to cacao. The Maya considered cacao to be a gift from the Gods and it was also the food of the Gods. There are carvings and paintings on ceramics that depict the sacred connections to the Gods. One of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh is hunting near a cacao tree, and there is a rare image of the Cacao God on a drinking vessel. On many drinking and burial vessels are scenes and depiction's of cacao and chocolate being used. Many of the burial vessels contained chocolate residues.

Strong associations between chocolate and human blood were common among the Mayan and Aztecs. Chocolate was considered to be the blood of the Earth and there was a sacred association with Human blood. Humans and the Earth were thus related in a sacred manner. A depiction of four Gods piercing their ears and scattering showers of blood over cacao pods with text that specifies offerings of cacao beans is found in the Madrid Codex. Blood letting of humans - usually among the nobles, and animals and animal sacrifice was a common occurrence on cacao plantations during festivals honoring the Gods.

Another sacred use of cacao occurred during “baptismal rites” for children - a Maya ritual predating the Spanish conquest, where ground cacao beans mixed with pure water from the hollows of trees and ground flowers were used to anoint the foreheads, faces, hands and toes of boys and girls. Chocolate was used in betrothal and marriage ceremonies, particularly among the nobles and wealthy Mayans. Among the contemporary Lacandon Maya in eastern Chiapas, Mexico, a sacred chocolate drink is made and added to corn gruel or a ritual mead. This mixture is then put into special clay effigy ‘gods pots’ on an altar in a special worship house.

The Aztec learned of the use of chocolate from the Maya and other lowland Mesoamerican peoples, sometime after 1300 AD. The Aztec elite were great lovers of cool chocolate drinks, there being a great amount of detailed evidence from the Spanish scribes during the conquest in the early 1500’s AD.

To the Aztec, chocolate had a deep symbolic meaning. An example of this is evident on a sacred cosmological map of the Aztec universe. The cacao tree is one of the great world trees occupying a prominent position. The Aztecs believed that cacao was given to them by the god Quetzalcoatl. Language spoken by the Aztec elite - the priests, poets and philosophers and nobles contained many metaphoric words with hidden meanings. Chocolate was referred to in this manner and meant “heart, blood”. The cacao pod was used as a ritual symbol for the sacrificial human heart, as both contained the most precious of liquids - chocolate and blood.

Chocolate and cacao also had a lighter symbolic meaning for the Aztec royalty and elite classes. A great love and devotion to poetry, music, song and dance was held by these people and many of these artistic pursuits expressed an awareness of the fleeting and uncertain nature of life, while others celebrated life’s pleasures. Of these, chocolate was again used in metaphor and represented the sumptuousness and luxuriant essence of life.

Among both the Mayans and Aztecs, chocolate was primarily consumed by the royal house, the lords, nobility, warriors and wealthy merchants. The commoners partook of chocolate only during festivals and weddings.

Both of these cultures loved their chocolate unsweetened with the addition of many herbs, flowers, nuts, seeds, leaves and spices, in a myriad of combinations. Chili was universally popular among the Mesoamericans and was put into everything consumed. While they preferred unsweetened chocolate, they also enjoyed honey and maguey sap (a relative of agave) in foodstuffs and chocolate drinks.

Good Chocolate is still used today as a way of evoking the sacred, sensuous and delightful experiences of life.

Historic European, Jeffersonian American and Oaxacan Drinking Chocolate
(Preliminary information, to be updated)

The historic Europeans continued the tradition of consuming chocolate as a drink. According to historic documents confections were made using chocolate by the nuns in convents from the 1530’s and on, but the bars of eating chocolate that we are familiar with today were unknown. In addition, historic chocolate had a grainy texture due to the rough grinding process used to make chocolate. Modern home made Oaxacan chocolate has a similar texture to the historic chocolate.

1644 Historic Spanish Chocolate

The Spanish were introduced to chocolate first by the Mayans and then the Aztecs. The Spanish introduced raw sugar, similar in taste to piloncillo or raw brown sugar, and cinnamon. In addition they replaced many of the New World spices with more familiar Old World Spices. The Spanish did not use milk in their drinking chocolate and they adopted the Mayan practice of drinking chocolate hot. Among the Spanish, chocolate was consumed only by the royal's, noble men and women, wealthy aristocracy and merchants, and especially by the clergy and religious orders. The Spanish kept chocolate a secret from the world for close to one hundred years. A recipe from 1644 written by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma describes how the Spaniards preferred their own chocolate for about 300 years and defined the regal standard from which other European drinking chocolate recipes were developed. According to historic documents and antique Spanish majolica drinking vessels, the Spanish drank chocolate out of small ceramic cups which held about 6 oz’s of chocolate. This cup came with a mancerina, a saucer with an attached cup holder which held this 6 oz cup and allowed the Spanish nobility to drink chocolate without spilling it on their finery. Kakawa Spanish drinking chocolate is made from this recipe.

1666 Historic Italian Chocolate

Chocolate was introduced into Italy by way of the clergy, travelers, physicians and the Spanish court sometime by the mid 1600’s. Chocolate in Baroque Italy was consumed only as a rich drink made with water adopted from the Spanish practice. The Italians tended to forgo many of the spices that the Spaniards used in their drinking chocolate. Instead they introduced perfume laden flavors such as ambergris, musk, jasmine flowers and lemon/citron peal. The Italians also used a more refined sugar then the Spanish. At first chocolate was considered a medicine and novelty but soon the drinking of chocolate was adopted and consumed by the Italian elite in various courts and by the clergy. Francesco Redi, a scientist, poet, physician and apothecary to Cosimo III de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, created a renowned jasmine chocolate drink which was a specialty of the Tuscan court. Redi possessively guarded this recipe until his death in 1697. He also created several other perfumed additions to chocolate including one with fresh citrus zest. Kakawa Italian drinking chocolates are made using these recipes.

1692 Historic French Chocolate

Chocolate was introduced into France sometime by the mid 1600’s through influence of the religious orders, physicians and the Spanish and Italian courts. Chocolate in Baroque France was consumed as a rich drink made with water. The French introduced cloves as a flavoring in drinking chocolate, along with ambergris and musk, opulent ingredients adopted from the Italians. In addition, the French preferred their chocolate sweeter then either the Italians or Spaniards due to the decadence of the court of Versailles. Chocolate was consumed only by the elite, the nobility, the aristocrats and the clergy. It was initially consumed as a medicine and soon it became a drink regularly served at public functions, especially among aristocratic women. The recipe from M. St. Disdier, published in 1692, is an accurate example of how genteel chocolate was prepared in Baroque France. Kakawa French drinking chocolate is made using this recipe.

1790’s Jeffersonian American Chocolate

Chocolate reached England by 1650. The English removed all the exotic ingredients used in mainland Europe. As chocolate was expensive less was used in their drinks. Introduction of milk, eggs, sherry, port wine and sometimes orange blossoms made a somewhat thicker chocolate drink similar to the Spanish style. Chocolate reached the American colonies by the early to mid 1700’s via England. Unlike the rest of Europe, chocolate in England and America was not restricted to the aristocracy and anyone with well lined pockets could buy hot chocolate. Thomas Jefferson fell in love with chocolate when he was ambassador to France. He began importing cacao beans and chocolate for consumption on his Monticello plantation. The first chocolate company in America was started by Walter Baker in Massachusetts in 1765. American drinking chocolate was influenced by the English method of preparation. With less chocolate used the drink became thinner and sweeter. Modern American hot chocolate is a direct descendent of this historic evolution. Kakawa Jeffersonian drinking chocolate is based upon several historic recipe sources.

1900’s Oaxacan Mexican Chocolate

The evolution of chocolate preparation in Mexico changed over the centuries. The Colonial Spanish initiated many substitutions in drinking chocolate. By the mid 1800s’ to mid 1900’s many Mexicans drank their hot chocolate sweeter (still using the piloncillo sugar), using a decreased amount of real chocolate and with the addition of only a few spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, roses, almonds and orange blossoms. Originally the colonial Spanish did not use milk in their drinking chocolate but by the 1900’s the use of milk in chocolate was widespread due to influence from England and the United States. However in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and in the southern Mexican lowlands traditional hot chocolate was almost always made with water, a tradition dating to the Mayans and Aztecs! Kakawa Oaxacan Mexican drinking chocolate is based upon several historic recipe sources.

How Chocolate Is Made

The seeds of the cacao tree do not taste anything like chocolate and require several processing steps in order for the chocolate flavor to bloom. These seeds when fresh and unprocessed taste quite bitter and astringent with a slightly nutty and floral overtone and are somewhat like unripe beans in texture and flavor. The initial steps in processing the cacao seeds are done at the farm or plantation where they are grown.

The first step in producing chocolate is the cacao pod is cut open and the whole mass of seeds are scooped out along with the fruit pulp. This mass is then put into a large pile or a box about the size of a composting bin (3x3x3), covered over and allowed to ferment. This mass is turned several times a day. The fermenting process creates many biological and chemical changes in the seeds which develop the chocolate flavor. The seed actually starts to germinate then dies due to the heat of fermentation. If the fermentation process is shorted or skipped the final cocoa beans will never completely taste like chocolate (many chocolate makers will try to compensate for this by over-roasting the beans).

Drying the beans (as they are called at this point) is the next step in processing. There are further chemical changes in the beans which continues to develop the flavor. The best method is to sun-dry which can take about one to two weeks. Other methods such as drying over fires can impart untoward flavors due to the material burned. Drying reduces the moisture content in the beans which is important because the beans can mold if not dried correctly (these moldy beans are not wasted - they are used in the manufacture of cocoa butter and cocoa powder for sale. Moldy beans impart a horrible taste in any chocolate products).

The dried cacao beans are then sold and shipped to chocolate makers around the world or to commodity broker warehouses. Chocolate makers roast the beans in slow roasters, which is a very exacting to temperature and time. If it is not done correctly and the beans are under or over roasted the finer and subtle qualities available in the beans will be lost. After roasting, the beans are put through a winnowing machine in order to take off the thin shell. At this point the cocoa nibs (broken roasted chocolate beans) are finally ground and this product is called Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Mass or Cocoa Paste. Chocolate liquor is not an alcohol.

The chocolate liquor then goes through several steps depending upon the final product to be made. The cocoa mass is put through a hydraulic press which extracts the Cocoa Butter, leaving Cocoa Powder. Eating chocolate is made by mixing chocolate liquor and adding various amounts of sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, flavorings and lecithin, an emulsifier (most, but not all chocolate makers add lecithin) to the liquor.

Modern chocolate makers add the last step of further grinding the chocolate mix on a machine with heated rollers for up to 72 hours. This makes the chocolate very smooth in texture, bringing the cocoa granules down to about 20 microns (the human tongue can detect particles between 20 to 25 microns and above). This added step develops the final flavor in chocolate.

Main Agricultural Varieties Of Chocolate Beans

There are three main agricultural varieties of Theobroma cacao with many cultivars and variatels in each grouping. Each variety produces different flavored beans:

The Criollo variety produces the best aromatic and complex flavor beans and is the first variety the Mesoamericans domesticated. This cacao type takes a short fermentation and roasting time to develop it’s flavors. Today, criollo is considered to be the finest cacao in the world producing the best flavored chocolate. The flavors of criollo blossom on the tongue in a series of crescendos with a lingering long finish on the palette. Currently, criollo only makes up about 1% of the worlds cocoa crop. These beans are blended with other cacao bean types to raise the flavor profile in higher end chocolates. Some really high end chocolate makers use a high percentage of criollo cacao in their chocolates.

The Forastero tree is a hardy and very productive cacao variety from the Amazon basin. This cacao type requires a long fermentation and roasting time to develop it’s flavor. The bean produces a strong monochromatic chocolate flavor with none of the mellowness and complexity of criollo and trinitario beans and it can be bitter depending upon how it is processed and roasted. On the palate the strong chocolate flavor comes on all at once and disappears quickly. Currently, forastero makes up 80% of the worlds cocoa crop. Most low and medium end chocolates are made with only this type of bean.

The Trinitario cacao variety produces a very fine flavor bean and is a hybrid developed from the criollo and forastero variety. This cacao type requires a short to medium fermentation and roasting time to develop it’s flavors. Most trinitario beans are considered to be as complex in flavor as criollo, with a similar palette profile. Currently, trinitario cacao makes up less then 20% of the worlds cocoa crop. These beans are used as a blending bean to raise the flavor profile of chocolate in a lot of higher end chocolates. Some high end chocolate makers use a high percentage of trinitario cacao in their chocolates.

Most chocolate makers use forestero cacao beans from around the world in a blend in making chocolate. The higher end chocolate makers use differing blends of two or three cacao bean types, using forastero as a foundation flavor and adding trinitario or criollo or both for more complex flavors. Some of the really higher end chocolate makers only use trinitario and criollo in making their chocolate, which produces incredible, unparalleled flavorful chocolate.

Most of the commercially available modern chocolate on the market today is made with the forastero cacao types, which is grown around the world and produces the most beans. One current issue in processing forastero is that a sizable percentage of growers (mostly in Africa) do not give forastero the needed fermentation time (sometimes they are only half fermented) for many complicated reasons. Forastero really requires a full fermentation to develop it’s flavor and without this the final chocolate will be quite bitter without a full flavor profile. Chocolate makers try to compensate for this by over roasting the beans which further degrades the final flavor. 90% of all Belgium, French, Swiss, German, English, Italian, American and Latin American Chocolate is made with forastero."


Per 100 g, the seed is reported to contain 456 calories, 3.6 g H2O, 12.0 g protein, 46.3 g fat, 34.7 g total carbohydrate, 8.6 g fiber, 3.4 g ash, 106 mg Ca, 537 mg P, 3.6 mg Fe, 30 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.17 mg thiamine, 0.14 mg riboflavin, 1.7 mg niacin, and 3 mg ascorbic acid. According to the Wealth of India, the edible pulp of the fruit contains 79.7–88.5% water, 0.5–0.7% albuminoids, astringents, etc.; 8.3–13.1% glucose, 0.4–0.9% sucrose, a trace of starch, 0.2–0.4% non-volatile acids (as tartaric), 0.03% Fe2O3 and 0.4% mineral salts (K, Na, Ca, Mg). The shell contains 11.0% moisture, 3.0% fat, 13.5% protein, 16.5% crude fiber, 9.0% tannins, 6.0% pentosans, 6.5% ash, and 0.75 theobromine. Raw seeds contain 0.24 mg/100 g thiamine, 0.41 riboflavin, 0.09 pyridoxine, 2.1 nicotinamide, and 1.35 pantothenic acid. The component fatty acids of cocoa butter are 26.2% palmitic and lower acids, 34.4 stearic and higher acids, 37.3% oleic acid, 2.1% linoleic and traces of isoleic. In g/100g the individual amino acids in the water soluble fractions of unfermented and fermented beans are lysine 0.08, 0.56; histidine 0.08, 0.04; arginine 0.08, 0.03; threonine 0.14, 0.84; serine 0.88, 1.99; glutamic acid 1.02, 1.77; proline 0.72, 1.97; glycine 0.09, 0.35; alanine 1.04, 3.61; valine 0.57, 2.60; isoleucine 0.56, 1.68; leucine 0.45, 4.75; tyrosine 0.57, 1.27; and phenylalanine 0.56–3.36 g/100g. Unfermented and fermented beans contain p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, and syringic acid, while the fermented beans also contain protocatechuic, phenylacetic, phloretic acid and the lactone esculetin and o- and p-hydroxyphenyl acids. Caffeic acid occurs in the unfermented beans (C.S.I.R., 1948–1976). According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times, people who suffer extreme depression as victims of unrequited love have an irregular production of phenylethylamine. Such individuals often go on chocolate binge during periods of depression. Chocolate is particularly high in phenylethylamine, perhaps serving as medication. Theophylline is a potent CNS and cardiovascular stimulant with diuretic and bronchial smooth muscle relaxant properties. Recently this drug was proven effective in preventing and treating apnea in premature infancy. Cocoa contains over 300 volatile compounds, including esters, hydrocarbonslactones, monocarbonyls, pyrazines, pyrroles, and others. The important flavor components are said to be aliphatic esters, polyphenols, unsaturated aromatic carbonyls, pyrazines, diketopiperazines, and theobromine. Cocoa also contains about 18% proteins (ca 8% digestible); fats (cocoa butter); amines and alkaloids, including theobromine (0.5 to 2.7%), caffeine (ca 0.25% in cocoa; 0.7 to 1.70 in fat-free beans, with forasteros containing less than 0.1% and criollos containing 1.43 to 1.70%), tyramine, dopamine, salsolinol, trigonelline, nicotinic acid, and free amino acids; tannins; phospholipids; etc. Cocoa butter contains mainly triglycerides of fatty acids that consist primarily of oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids. Over 73% of the glycerides are present as monounsaturated forms (oleopalmitostearin and oleodistearin), the remaining being mostly diunsaturated glycerides (palmitodiolein and stearodiolein), with lesser amounts of fully saturated and triunsaturated (triolein glycerides). Linoleic acid levels have been reported to be up to 4.1%. Also present in cocoa butter are small amounts of sterols and methylsterols; sterols consist mainly of b-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol, with a small quantity of cholesterol. In addition to alkaloids (mainly theobromine), tannins, and other constituents, cocoa husk contains a pigment that is a polyflavone glucoside with a molecular weight of over 1500, this pigment is claimed to be heat and light resistant, highly stable at pH 3 to 11, and useful as a food colorant; it was isolated at a 7.9% yield (Leung, 1980)