About Cacao Beans, Cocoa and Chocolate

About the Cacao Tree 
The cacao tree is grown in the tropics, often in the shades of other trees. It can be as tall as 40 feet (12 meters), and has fruits (pods) which are more than on foot (30 cm) long. The fruits may be brownish-yellow to purple, and contain 20-40 seeds or cacao beans in a pink, sweet-sour pulp. Read more....
Fermentation of Cacao 
The cacao fruits are opened and the pulp and seeds are transferred to larger containers. This is either performed by farmers, plantation workers, or in large cocoa factories where it is frequently done by machines. Read more....
Drying and Roasting Cacao Beans 
When the fermentation is terminated the cacao beans are sun-dried. At this stage the smell of cocoa can be observed. In small plantations the fermented beans are spread by hand, and later turned over by hand or foot. Read more....
Cacao Balls 
In many cacao-producing countries the cacao beans are locally used for making "cocoa tea". The fermented beans are ground to a fine paste, mixed with spices, and rolled into balls which are dried (in Jamaica and some other countries the ground cocoa is rolled into sticks instead of balls). Read more....
Manufacturing Cocoa 
High quality cocoa powder must be easily dissolved and have good flavor. The beans used for the manufacture of cocoa are selected especially for this purpose. The beans are first ground to cocoa paste. The pressure is employed to remove some of the fat, also called cocoa butter. Read more....
Manufacturing Chocolate 
Chocolate contains three main ingredients: cocoa paste, cocoa butter, sugar, and emulsifier. Normally also vanilla is added. Read more....
Types of Chocolate 
Several types of chocolate are produced: white chocolate, milk chocolate, semisweet dark chocolate, bitter chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate. Here we explain the differences. Read more....
Gourmet Chocolate Manufacturers 
There are a number of gourmet chocolate manufacturers (specialty chocolate producers), primarily in Europe but also in the USA and South America. We have listed a number of them on this page with links to some of their products. Read more....
Cocoa and Chocolate Nutrition Facts 
Cocoa and chocolate contain fat, carbohydrates, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other compounds. Many studies have linked cocoa and dark chocolate with health benefits. Read more....
Baking with Chocolate and Cocoa 
About using chocolate and cocoa for baking. Read more...
Buy Chocolate 
Here you can buy chocolate or browse chocolate products from several manufacturers. Read more...
Cacao Producing Countries 
Cacao beans are grown in a number of countries located near the Equator. Read more...
Map is from World66 based on information from ICCO.
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