Cocoa bean

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The cocoa bean  is the dried and fully fermented seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids (a mixture of nonfat substances) and cocoa butter (the fat) can be extracted. Cocoa beans are the basis of chocolate, and Mesoamerican foods including tejate, an indigenous Mexican drink that also includes maize.The three main varieties of cocoa plant are Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario.The first is the most widely used, comprising 80–90% of the world production of cocoa. Cocoa beans of the Criollo variety are rarer and considered a delicacy.Criollo also tend to be less resistant to several diseases that attack the cocoa plant, hence very few countries still produce it. One of the largest producers of Criollo beans is Venezuela (Chuao and Porcelana). Trinitario (from Trinidad) is a hybrid between Criollo and Forastero varieties. It is considered to be of much higher quality than Forastero, has higher yields, and is more resistant to disease than Criollo.Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants such as flavonoids and procyanidins that help to provide anti-aging properties. It has also high concentration of epicatechin that is helpful for cardiovascular health.The largest producers of cocoa beans are Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia.

Scientific name

Theobroma cacao

Mexican name

Cacao

Plant type

Tree

Harvested parts

Seeds, Fruit

Main producer

India

Main use

Flavoring, Beverage, Cosmetic

Taste

Mildly bitter

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