Posted in Kafevend Blog
Like coffee beans and the two major varieties arabica and robusta, cacao beans share exactly the same style of division, with two major types known as criollo and forastero. Unlike coffee beans however, the cacao bean types make a little more sense in the yield department, with the higher quality criollo making up a smaller amount of the overall total.
The criollo bean unfortunately only now makes up a few percent of cacao beans on the market. A combination of lower yields from the species along with being a less hardy plant than the forastero has led to this decline. Criollo's place as the high quality bean is being taken up by the newer trinitario, a cross breed of criollo and forastero created after devastation was wreaked on the cacao crops in Trinidad. Forastero makes up more than ninety percent of the total amount of cacao produced, thanks no doubt to its hardiness, similar to coffee's robusta. Also like robusta, it produces a more bitter tasting bean.
Whilst these species have general characteristics, their flavours are further enhanced and diversified depending on the region they are grown in. Criollo grows in countries like Guatemala, Mexico and Trinidad and other areas that the cacao plant is native to- the name itself means native. Forastero likewise has a similarly geographically influenced name with it meaning foreign. It is grown across many continents, ranging from Central America to Africa and Asia.