Cacao & Genetic Mapping

Published by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on 3rd Sep 2022

Cacao & Genetic Mapping

A really interesting discovery has been made about the genetics of cacao this last year.

It has been thought for many years that there were only 3 types of cacao. Cacao is the tropical fruit that chocolate is made from. The 3 main types have been called Forastero, Criollo and Trinitario. Each of these types have distinct flavors and properties and there are sub groups to each of the 3 types distinct to specific growing regions (i.e. Forastero Brazil Manaus Variety).

The genetic mapping discovery this last year has proven there are actually 10 very distinct types of cacao - basically 7 more then the originally named 3 of Forastero, Criollo and Trinitario. This means that many of the long standing thoughts and perceptions of cacao, the categorization and how it developed in the wild is going to be re-thought.

The other interesting discovery from the genetic mapping is that the original cacao trees must have first grown in Central America (probably Honduras), Ecuador and Venezuela.