Where Do Cocoa Beans Grow?
One of the questions we hear most often is, “Where do cocoa beans grow?” Cocoa beans grow in pods on trees of the Theobroma cacao species. Cocoa beans grow into beautiful trees; these trees grow most successfully in a narrow band called the Cocoa Belt or the Chocolate Belt; this band extends up to 20 degrees of latitude north and south of the equator. Cocoa beans grow best where there are fairly constant, warm or even hot temperatures all year round (usually in the 65 to 90 degree F range). For cocoa beans to thrive, they need high humidity and a lot of rainfall (from about 40 to 100 inches per year). Cocoa beans grow poorly in any kind of cold or drought conditions. Additionally, cocoa beans grow best where there is a lot of light. However, they cannot tolerate too much ultraviolet light of the type found at higher altitudes.
One of the reasons why people ask us “Where do cocoa beans grow” is because they are interested in knowing whether they can grow cocoa beans in their house into a cocoa tree. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to grow cocoa trees indoors – especially in the United States. Further, cocoa beans have to be planted within about six days from the time they are removed from the tree, or they will die. It is very difficult to get cocoa beans this fresh unless you are able to source a fresh cocoa pod.
World-wide, far more cocoa beans grow in Cote d’Ivoire than anywhere else. That country is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans; about one-third of the world’s annual harvest of cocoa beans grow in Cote d’Ivoire. Other top cocoa bean growers include Ghana and Indonesia. A quick glance at a world map will show that all of these areas lie within the Cocoa Belt. But there are a whole host of countries along the equator where you can find cocoa beans growing.
A List of Where Cocoa Beans Grow:
Martinique / St. Lucia
USA (South Florida and Hawai’i; there are no commercial plantations in South Florida)
While this list is not exhaustive, it should give you a good idea of the regions where cocoa beans grow.