Cacao Beans Raw
History of Raw Theobroma Cacao from South America
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 one 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 century, most plantations had Criollo beans. Nowadays, however, especially the Forastero is harvested in large quantities as it produces many more beans, but it's quality is somewhat less.
Our beans from Ecuador and Peru are of the Criollo variety. 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.
Cacao trees produce fibrous pods between 15 and 25 cm long and 7 to 10 cm thick. Harvested by hand from these pods, the raw beans are cleaned in natural water and selected for the finest quality. The production process fully preserves the nutritional value of the beans without any additives.
Eat them whole as the ultimate indulgence, or bake great cocoa brownies by adding crushed beans to your favourite recipe.