The Cocoa Tree
beans come from Amazon and Orinoco rainforest tree Theobroma cacao (
was given by swedish botanist Carl von Linné ). This tree needs shade
usually grows under rainforest trees near rivers. About 3 or 4 thousand
years ago cocoa tree was cultivated and spread out to central America.
The tree grows up to 15m height ( if cultivated only about 8m to easier
harvesting ). Theobroma cacao can live up to 100 years. Cacao
are bright green, about 15 cm long and 8 cm wide. Stabile temperature
21 °C to 32°C is needed and a lot of rain during year. Cocoa tree
worldwide in tropical forest within 20´ latitude of the equator.
producers of cocoa are: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia,
Cameroon, Cote D´Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia.
and pods grow exactly from the stem called Chupon or from main branches
-cauliflora. The pods can be up to 30 cm long but it can differ a lot.
Weight is ussually 300g - 500g and colour red-brown. The fruit grows
5 months and other month ripes. Its pulp is often eaten by animals and
its seeds are used for chocolate. There are 20 - 40 seeds in one pod.
are 2 - 4 cm long and 1 - 2cm wide. Main fruit seasons are in May and
October/November and in this time the crop is ussually harvested. Each
tree produces annually about 0,5 -2,5 kg of seed kernels.
of cocoa are criollo, forastero and trinitario. The names originate
Venezuela from times when Venezuela was leading producer of cocoa and
local (Criollo) and foreign (forastero).
is smaller, has better taste quality, worth growth and gave the best
It originate in Venezuela when is mostly grown and takes only small
of world crop (up to 5 %). Because it is expensive it is used
for high quality dark chocolate and often is mixed with forastero
is dominating world variety of cocoa. It has bigger pods, lower taste
quality and the tree is much more resistent to diseases than Criollo.
makes up over 80 % of world cocoa production, mostly from Africa.
comes from Trinidad when was created from Criollo and Forastero to be
resistent than past forms of local trees. Again very good quality
about 10-15 % in world production.
Short history of
chocolate till 1800
became cultural plant in central America probably about 1500 BC when
established first plantations.
american civilisations of Toltecs and Mayas continued in planting
About 1000 AD cocoa beens were already used as a currency. Mayas used
cocoa beans to prepare very nourishing drink which was leter called
first European who saw cocoa in today´s Nicaragua in 1502. But he
care about cocoa because he searched way to India.
discovered real importance of cocoa in central american society and
thanks to nourishing cocoa drink conquered Aztec empire in 1521.
back to Europe the first cocoa in 1528. It took more then 100 years to
spread cocoa to other european countries. Chocolate became popular
in european higher society during 17th and 18th century.
machine-made chocolate was produced in Barcelona about year 1780.
to industrial revolution and its inventions and massive expansion of
production chocolate became not only drink but also confectionery in
wrappers shown here are
scans of real chocolate wrappers from still growing collection of