Where Do Cocoa Beans Come From?

Question: Where Do Cocoa Beans Come From?

Answer: Cocoa beans come from the fruit of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao). The fruits, called pods, grow directly on the trunk of the cocoa tree, as well as on the tree’s main stems or branches. The pods come in many different types, because cocoa trees cross-pollinate very easily. Most often, the pods are green, yellow, or purplish in color; their size and shape can vary widely (again, this is due to cross-pollination). The pods do not fall from the tree, even when ripe; they must be hand-harvested, one at a time. The average cocoa tree yields between 20 and 30 of these pods per year. The cocoa beans come from inside these pods; in fact, there are roughly 20 to 40 cocoa beans in each pod.

Cocoa trees are grown chiefly inside a narrow region up to 20 degrees north and south latitude of the equator, called the Cocoa Belt or the Chocolate Belt. Like their parent trees, in order to grow successfully, cocoa beans require constant warm-to-hot temperatures (in the 65 to 90 degrees F range). Constant high humidity and heavy annual rainfall (40 to 100 inches per year) are required to grow cocoa beans, as well. Cocoa beans come from countries within the Cocoa Belt where there are ideal conditions in which cocoa beans can grow.

Where Cocoa Beans Come From: A List

Brazil
Cameroon
Celebes
Columbia
Cuba
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Fiji
Ghana
Grenada
Guatemala
Haiti
Honduras
Ivory Coast
Jamaica
Java
Martinique / St. Lucia
Madagascar
Malaysia
Mexico
New Guinea
New Hebrides
Nicaragua
Nigeria
Panama
Peru
Philippines
Solomon Islands
Samoa
San Tome
Sri Lanka
Trinidad
USA (South Florida and Hawai’i; there are no commercial plantations in South Florida)
Venezuela

While this list is not exhaustive, it should provide a good guide to enable you to answer the question of where cocoa beans come from.