Criollo cacao is the best type of cocoa bean because it has the smoothest and most delicate flavor. From our research it is also the one with the highest antioxidant content typically.
What is Organic Criollo Cacao?
Criollo (which in Spanish means ‘of local origin’ or ‘native’) is one of the varieties of cacao beans. What makes it special is how rare it is - in fact, it represents less than 3% of cacao grown worldwide, and at a few points in time, it was close to being extinct. Due to its rarity, there are many companies claiming to sell ‘the real deal’ while actually selling a variety called Trinitario.
Cacao Bean Varieties:
Criollo Cacao Beans
Criollo beans are the rarest variety of cacao beans currently available. As Criollo plants are susceptible to weather and animals that want to eat their fruit, the criollo cacao beans were close to extinction a few times already. Because of that, as well as their flavor, Criollo cacao beans are considered to be super fine cacao.
Forastero Cacao Beans
Forastero is probably the most commonly encountered variety of cacao beans - it dominates the market, representing anywhere between 85 and 95% of the cacao growth. The main reason for that is that it is not as easily susceptible to diseases as other cacao bean varieties are, as well as the fact that Forastero has lower requirements when it comes to cultivation. This variety of cacao bean is mostly cultivated in Indonesia and Africa with the primary region of largest production being West Africa.
Trinitario Cacao Beans
Trinitario is a hybrid cacao bean variety - a mix between Criollo and Forastero. Depending on how much of each is present in the plant, the Trinitario beans can taste differently. Therefore, there’s a near endless amount of Trinitario varieties. Even though Trinitario is not that rare, it still represents less than 10% of the world’s cacao growth.
Nacional Cacao Beans
Nacional is another superior cacao bean variety. Although it’s been around for over 5 thousand years, until recently many thought that it went extinct - at least its pure form, as over the centuries most of the Nacional varieties interbred with others.