Types of cocoa
CRIOLLO: The rare bean
The Criollo beans are the finest & rarest form of cocoa beans.
These beans are fruit forward & are highly aromatic. They lack bitterness and have rich secondary notes.
It only accounts for only 2% of the global cocoa produced as they are extremely vulnerable to environmental threats & have a low yield as the trees produce very limited pods.
Farmers find this crop extremely difficult to produce, which is due to both low yield and high susceptibility to pest attacks as the beans are naturally sweet in taste.
This leads to the constantly diminishing availability of this bean.
The Criollo pods are usually red or purple in colour & have a grainy uneven surface. The colour of the beans ranges from white to pale pink, depending on whether it is derived from a freshly opened pod or otherwise.
The Criollo tree is native to Central & Southern America, the Caribbean islands & Sri Lanka.
FORASTERO: The Robust bean
The Forastero beans are commonly referred to as bulk cocoa. They are the most widely produced cocoa variety in the world, contributing to almost 80 -85% of the world’s total cocoa produce.
They are bitter in taste and don’t have a secondary flavour supporting it like the Criollo. The exterior surface of the cocoa pod is relatively smooth & harder in comparison to the Criollo pod. The flavour profile is strong and earthy and needs to be mixed with superior quality cocoa for added taste.
These beans are available in abundance and account for about 80-85% of the world’s cocoa. Unlike the Criollo beans, the Forastero beans are not susceptible to diseases and have a much higher yield, making them the chosen variety for cocoa producers due to their robustness.
When freshly cut open, the colour of the beans is purple and that of the pod is yellow.
Generally produced in Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, New Guinea, Brazil, Malaysia & Indonesia.
TRINITARIO: The Hybrid bean
The Trinitario beans are a natural hybrid resulting for the cross pollination between the Criollo and Forastero beans.
Trinitario beans have the robustness & high yield of Forastero beans along with the sublime taste of Criollo beans. However the grade of this cocoa varies from average to superior.
They account for 10%-13% of the global cocoa production.
The colour of Trinitario pods vary in shape & colour as it is a hybrid. The beans are white to creamy in colour.
Native Region: It first came into existence on the island of Trinidad after the local criollo crops were destroyed by a hurricane & new Forestaro crops were replanted. This gave birth to natural hybrids as an outcome of natural cross pollination between the old Criollo crop & newly planted Forastero crops.
Trinitario has the strength of a Forastero bean to fight against diseases and the taste of a Criollo bean.
They are also found in the Caribbean islands, Venezuela and Colombia and also in some parts of South-East Asia.