There are thousands of wholesale Cocoa Beans Suppliers in USA, but where do cocoa beans grow?
Although cocoa beans are the main component of chocolate, normally, cocoa beans grow within 20 degrees of the equator. The “cocoa belt” is a common name for this particular growth area.
Theobroma cacao is the plant that yields cocoa or cacao beans. Fruit tree Theobroma cacao got its name from the Greek word for “food of the gods.” Generally, cacao beans are seeds that develop inside pods. It has a cover and comes in a white, spongy pulp called baba.
Lower heights (less than 2,000 feet) in hotter tropical temperatures (65–90°F) are ideal for the Theobroma cacao tree’s growth. It requires a growing region with proper soil drainage and abundant rainfall. The cocoa tree needs a lot of shade as well. Therefore, we frequently plant it alongside bigger fruit trees (like mangoes) or hardwoods.
How does Cacao Tree grow?
Cacao trees only reach a height of 15 to 25 feet, making them rather small. A cacao tree matures and begins to produce chocolate pods after around five years (from seed). The beans sprout in football-shaped pods on the tree’s trunk and from its larger branches.
The typical cacao tree yields 30–40 cacao pods annually. Depending on the cacao tree, these pods can be green, yellow, orange, or red, and they usually harvested twice a year.
Taste Of Cocoa Beans
Similar to grapes and wine, different varieties of cocoa beans can have varied flavors based on the area of their cultivation. The cacao pod of the Forastero variety is smoother and more rounded and has a thicker shell wall. It yields cocoa with more traditional chocolate flavor qualities.
The Criollo type yields cocoa with more flowery, fruity, and nutty flavors. It has an elongated, knobby pod shape and a thinner shell wall. We can combine Forastero and Criollo to create the Trinitario variety.
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Origin Of Cocoa Beans
The upper Amazon basin is the place where the Theobroma cacao tree first appeared (Brazil, Colombia, and Peru). In more than 50 nations today, 40–50 million cocoa growers cultivate cacao. The farming of only 5% of the world’s cocoa happens on larger commercial plantations.
Whereas the majority (90%) grow on modest family farms. Cacao is the primary source of revenue for the majority of these growers. It is now more crucial than ever to support sustainable agricultural methods and fair-trade chocolate. Many cacao farmers make less than $1 USD per day for their laborious work of cultivating and harvesting cocoa.
This fragile fruit tree can only be grown in a few places because it needs such a special climate. Despite being one of the top 10 chocolate-consuming nations, the majority of the US lacks the ideal environment for cacao cultivation. The only state that can support commercial cacao production is Hawaii.
In Africa, coffee first appeared specifically in Yemen and Ethiopia. Today, its growth is all over the world in areas close to the equator. Moreover, the South American cacao beans are a much more recent find.
Africa today produces the majority of the world’s chocolate, whereas South America now dominates the coffee industry. You will find the finest coffee in Colombia and Brazil. The two countries that export the most cacao are Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Difference Between Coffee and Cocoa Beans
We use different beans to make chocolate and coffee. While we utilize cacao beans to make chocolate, coffee beans are a naturally occurring plant. Despite the fact that both cocoa and coffee trees are native to equatorial climates, the beans’ yield differ in appearance, flavor, and aroma.
Both trees have their unique fruit production. Cacao plants produce cacao pods, while coffee trees produce cherries. These fruits contain beans or seeds.
- The cherry is another name for coffee fruit.
- Each cherry has two coffee beans.
- From those cherries, we extract pale and frequently white coffee beans. The brown hue of coffee beans is a result of roasting.
- Cacao pod is another name for Cocoa fruit.
- In each cacao pod, there are 20–50 cocoa beans.
- Chocolate is made by fermenting, grinding, and drying cacao beans.
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