History of Theobroma Cacao
The cocoa tree, originally from the fertile forests of South America, is known not only for its unique taste but also for its therapeutic and nutritious properties. Its Latin name - Theobroma - literally means 'food of the gods'.
Cacao was first harvested by the Olmecs in Mexico, since 1000 BC. At that time it was mainly used for strengthening drinks. Over the years, Maya and Aztecs adopted this use in their cultures. Cocoa became part of ceremonial rituals and cocoa beans were a means of payment. It was only in the 16th century that the Spaniards took cocoa with them to Europe. They added sugar and cinnamon and heated the drink before consuming it. Demand for cocoa began to grow and so plantations were set up to meet this demand. Today, chocolate is once again in the spotlight among researchers. They look at the healthy properties of our favourite food products and regularly come up with new revelations.
There are 3 common varieties of the cacao plant: Forastero, Criollo and Trinitario. Until the 18th
Our beans from Ecuador are the Arriba Nacional. Nacional is a species that only occurs in Ecuador and is very similar to Criollo. The unique floral aroma of the Nacional is called the 'Arriba' flavour. This cacao species is considered to be the best in the world. Our beans grow on high volcanic soils full of minerals. The cacao trees are carefully harvested according to organic standards in this unpolluted environment. The beans are dried using specially developed tools to ensure the quality of the cocoa.
Our supplier, Robert, is seen worldwide as the leader in raw cocoa and has a real passion for his work. We are proud to be the only supplier on the European market of this exclusive cocoa from Ecuador.
Cacao trees produce fibrous pods between 15 and 25 cm long and 7 to 10 cm thick. Each pod contains 20 to 40 beans (seeds) in a kind of porridge. The raw, unroasted beans are about 2.5 cm long and consist of 65% of water. After harvesting, the pods are opened and the porridge with the seeds removed. This is then placed in the sun for a few days under tropical conditions to ferment. This is an important process for the taste and aroma of our beans. After this, the beans are sorted and dried again in the sun. After this period the beans only contain about 5% water.
In this phase, the beans are broken into small pieces and put through a wall mill to separate the beans from their husks. The pieces of cocoa are then ground with stones in about 10 hours to form a fine paste. This paste is then pressed and molded into wavers and left to cool down. Then the wavers are ready for packaging and transport.