Where Does The Cocoa Come From? Easily Explained

The cocoa tree – that’s where it comes from

The Theobroma cacao, also known as the cocoa tree, originally comes from South America. The plant is now also cultivated in Asia and Africa.

  • The cocoa tree is not easy to keep – it needs very specific climatic conditions. This includes a lot of heat, but no blazing sun and a certain amount of rain. For example, if it rains too much, the trees become diseased and if there is too little rain, they hardly bear any fruit. As a result, many cocoa farmers are struggling with climate change, to which the sensitive plants are already reacting negatively.
  • A little patience is required until the cocoa tree blossoms for the first time and bears the coveted fruit. It takes four to five years before farmers can harvest for the first time.
  • But then the cocoa tree really gets going. The cocoa farmers harvest about every six weeks and around fifty fruits per plant. As a rule, the Theobroma cacao bears fruit for about 40 years.

Cocoa – how it is obtained

The approximately 30 centimeter long fruits of the cacao tree contain the pulp in which the seeds are stuck. Cocoa is obtained from these seeds, which are also called cocoa beans.

  • Immediately after harvesting, the cocoa beans still have a whitish hue. Only after fermentation do they get their brown colour, which is intensified during the later roasting process. In further processing, the cocoa powder and cocoa butter are obtained from the cocoa beans.
  • Many ingredients in cocoa are quite good for our health. Among other things, it contains vitamins B1, B2 and E as well as beta-carotene and niacin. Furthermore, cocoa contains plenty of flavanols as well as iron, calcium and magnesium.
  • But even if cocoa is good for your health, that in no way means that chocolate and co. have the same qualities.
  • The situation is different, however, if you make your own chocolate and pay attention to healthy ingredients.
  • But not only healthy components can be found in cocoa. The substance cadmium can also be found in it. Cadmium is suspected of being carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys.
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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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