The three beans used in most chocolate production today are the Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario. Each of these beans has its own properties that result in slightly different tastes in the chocolate end product. On the Emerald Estate and Anse Mamin Plantation we have both the Criollo and Trinitriao cacao beans.
The Criollo beans, which are some of most cherished beans on Emerald Estate, and are the ones that started it all. Most grow in South America’s milder climates and require very rich soil, such as the volcanic soil here on St Lucia. The beans themselves are considered the best for making chocolates because they are highly aromatic and have low acid levels, which helps create fine chocolate with intense flavor.
Forastero come from the Amazon region of South America. These beans are thought to account for about 80 percent of the world’s cacao production. Not considered as fine as the Criollo, these beans produce a weak aroma and have a bitter taste although they can be processed to create fine products.
Less common for chocolate making than the Forastero and more available in the Caribbean than the Criollo, the Trinitario is considered a hybrid bean from the cacao tree. This bean combines the fine taste of the Criollo with the higher yields of the Forastero and is grown in South America, various Caribbean islands and a few other locals.