Cultivation

Growing cocoa

Taste by the tone.

With what is known as “unshaded monocultures”, by contrast, tracts of rainforest are felled to make way for cacao trees. Only the hardy Forastero and some Trinitario species are suited to this. The method requires highly intense care, irrigation, fertilisers and pesticides, and the cacao flowers still need to be pollinated by hand.

Every year, more than 3.5 million tonnes of raw cocoa beans are harvested globally. 95% of these are the strong, hardy ordinary or bulk cocoa, Forastero, while sensitive fine or flavour cocoas such as Criollo and some Trinitario varieties make up only about 5% of global harvests.

Cocoa trees school

Europe mainly gets its bulk cocoa from the Ivory Coast and other Central African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. The fine or flavour varieties from northern South America, Ecuador and Venezuela are mainly processed by German chocolate manufacturers, while North America, and especially the USA, gets most of the raw cocoa it needs from Brazil.

 

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