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The Different Varieties of Cocoa Beans: Criollo, Trinitario & Forastero

Most large-scale chocolate is made from Forastero beans - an unexceptional but high-yielding variety from Brazil and W Africa. Better quality Criollo and Trinitario beans are lower yielding and therefore considerably more expensive.

Criollo

In Spanish, Criollo means 'of local origin'. This is a very high quality cocoa bean and is very aromatic and lacks bitterness. The Criollo is used in luxury chocolate but rarely alone since it is very scarce and expensive. Becoming less and less available. Found in Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia, Samoan Islands, Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Represents less than 3% of the world's cocoa production. The Valrhona Single Origin Palmira bar is a great example of the Criollo bean, We are very lucky to have a very limited supply of this bar for sale.

Trinitario

Came into existence following the near-destruction of Trinidad's criollo plantations by a hurricance in 1727. Forastero seeds were brought from Venezuela and cross-fertilised with the native criollo beans resulting in the trinitario. Found particularly in the Caribbean but also in Venezuela and Colombia. Represents about 12% of the world's cocoa production.

Forastero

The word means 'stranger' or 'outsider' in Spanish. Ordinary, everyday cocoa with strong, earthy flavours. Found in Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, New Guinea, Brazil, Central America, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. Represents about 85% of the world's cocoa production.

  • Post author
    Al Garnsworthy

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