Cocoa beans

Cocoa grows in tropical areas between 15 and 20 degrees latitude north and south of the equator in Africa, Asia and Latin America. After extraction from the pod, cocoa seeds are fermented and sundried. A cocoa producing tree can deliver on average 0.5 to 2 kg of dried seeds per year.

The international cocoa market, including Spain, accepts three types of cocoa beans:
  • Common grade: Forastero cocoa Forastero was originally grown in the high Amazon region and is now the predominant cocoa variety cultivated mainly in Africa, accounting for around 80% of global cocoa production. The beans have a flatter flavour than the fruitier and more citric Criollo and Trinitario beans
  • High grade: Criollo cocoa (original cocoa tree) Criollo was originally grown in Venezuela, Central America and Mexico, but is now also grown in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Sri Lanka. Criollo makes up 5 to 10% of global cocoa production. The beans have a bitter, aromatic flavour and are easily processed.
  • High grade: Trinitario cocoa Trinitario was originally grown in Trinidad, but is now also grown in Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Cameroon, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The beans are a hybrid of the Criollo and Forastero trees. This variety represents between 10 and 15% of the global cocoa production.

Harmonised System (HS) codes are used to classify products and to calculate international trade statistics, such as imports and exports

Quality criteria

  • • Genetically good trees
  • • Well-cared cocoa, grown in a suitable environment
  • • Properly harvested pods
  • • Good practices to keep trees healthy, free of pests and diseases;
  • • Optimum fermentation and drying protocols specific to each bean type
  • • Know-how of cocoa beans processing and chocolate making

High-grade, fine flavour cocoa beans are generally of higher quality than common-grade cocoa beans, as their distinctive flavour is popular among manufacturers of high-quality chocolate. Fine flavour beans are usually produced from trees genetically linked to Criollo and Trinitario cocoa-tree varieties. Common-grade or bulk cocoa beans for mass production are genetically derived from Forastero trees.

Harvesting and processing techniques are also important in harnessing the qualities of fine flavour cocoa beans. While harvesting, make sure to pick only ripe fruits. During processing, make sure all cocoa beans are fermented and dried homogenously. Cocoa beans should be shipped shortly after harvest because extended storage, longer that six months, may result in losses due to the relatively high humidity in tropical environments.

The grading of cocoa depends on the fermentation process, which is done to moderate the beans’ initially bitter flavour and yield a typical cocoa flavour. Cocoa grading differs across producing and consuming countries. Standard practices have been set by the international cocoa trade associations which classify grades as follows:

  • • Well fermented cocoa beans: less than 5% mould, less than 5% slate and less than 1.5% foreign matter.
  • • Fairly fermented cocoa beans: less than 10% mould, less than 10% slate and less than 1.5% foreign matter.

Labelling we offer with

The label on cocoa exported is written in English or Other Language . The label included the following :

  • • product name
  • • grade
  • • lot or batch code
  • • country of origin
  • • net weight in kg

Cocoa beans are traditionally shipped in jute bags weighing between 60 and 65 kg.

Shipping cocoa beans in bulk has become more popular in the mainstream market in recent years. When shipped bulk, cocoa beans are loaded directly into the ship’s cargo hold or in shipping containers that have a flexi bag . This mega bulk method is often adopted by larger cocoa processors, which handle cocoa beans of standard qualities.

Jute bags are still commonly used in the fine flavour and speciality cocoa segment. Vacuum-sealed