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Cocoa Glossary

Cocoa production and processing can be complicated; we've provided these terms and definitions to help make it simpler.

Cacao Tree (Theobroma Cacao)

The tropical tree that produces cocoa beans. Theobroma means “food of the gods.”

 

Chocolate Nibs

The “meat” of the cocoa bean remaining when the shell is removed in the chocolate production process.

 

Chocolate Liquor

The liquid chocolate produced by grinding the cocoa nibs. It is the basic ingredient in all chocolate products. There is no alcohol in chocolate liquor.

 

Cocoa Bean

The seed of the cacao tree, which is only called a cocoa bean once it is removed from the pod in which it grows.

 

Cocoa Pod

The leathery oval pod that contains cocoa beans.

 

Criollo Cocoa Beans

A premium variety of cocoa beans grown primarily in South and Central America.

 

Conching

Part of the process by which chocolate is manufactured. Cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and sugar are blended and placed in large agitators, called ‘conches’ that stir the mixture under heat.

 

Dutch Processing

A method of treating the nib or the liquor with an alkali solution after roasting, which will reduce the acidity by increasing the normal pH factor from about 5.0 up to 8.0. The name honors the homeland of its inventor, C. J. Van Houten.

 

Forastero Cocoa Beans

The most commonly grown and used beans. These beans make up about 90 percent of the world’s production and are grown primarily in West Africa.

 

Trinitario Cocoa Beans

Believed to be a natural cross from strains of the other two types, Trinitario has a great variety of characteristics but generally possesses good, aromatic flavor. Trinitario trees are particularly suitable for cultivation.
 
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