What are Trinitario cocoa beans

Briefly explained: the cocoa varieties

Most people know that the chocolate they buy in the supermarket owes its chocolaty taste to the cocoa bean. What is less well known, however, is that there are different types of cocoa and how they differ from one another. It's a bit like coffee, where the two varieties Robusta and Arabica form the basis for the variety of flavors. In the cocoa sector, three main types determine the market and aroma: Forastero, Criollo and Trinitario.

The box office hit

Forastero is the favorite variety of most cocoa farmers: robust, high-yielding and aromatic - with these properties, the plant has placed itself at the top of the consumer cocoa plants by far. In the growing regions in West Africa in particular, the cocoa plantations consist almost exclusively of forastero. It is estimated that Forastero's global share of cocoa is between 80 percent and 90 percent.

The exclusive one

Criollo is considered fine cocoa. It is mainly grown in Central America, especially in Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Translated from the Spanish, Criollo means “local” and stands for traditional Latin American cocoa cultivation. It becomes a fine cocoa mainly because of its taste profile. The characteristics are a fine, floral aroma and the slightly sour to bitter taste. Consumers find single-variety chocolates made from fine cocoa mainly in the high-priced segment.

The half-breed

The second official fine cocoa Trinitario got its name from its place of origin - the island of Trinidad and is a cross between Forastero and Criollo. As a result, Trinitario is more productive and more resilient than Criollo and has a special aroma that is described as fruity-sour and spicy.

The countries from which fine cocoa is exported is described in Appendix C of the International Cocoa Agreement of 2010:

  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Grenada
  • Indonesia
  • Jamaica
  • Colombia
  • Madagascar
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • St. Lucia
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Venezuela

The Council of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) decided on May 28, 2016 to add seven more countries to the list of fine cocoa producers. These include Nicaragua, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Vietnam.