The Origin of Cocoa Beans from Mexico

The history of Mexico and of cocoa has long been intertwined. Indeed, the first discovery of this food was associated Mexico, the territory where some of the greatest civilizations once lived. Mexico has always been considered the cradle of chocolate, even if it does not concentrate all its activities in the exploitation of this food. To break this link between this country and this food, it seems essential to describe the origin of cocoa and analyze the situation in Mexico.

The Origin of Cocoa

Cocoa is the powder obtained from cocoa beans (cocoa extract) after roasting and crushing them. The term “cocoa” probably comes from the Mexican “nahuatl” pronounced “cacahuatl”. The origin of this food goes back to the era of the Olmecs, the Aztecs and the Mayans (starting around 2000 BC) who lived in Mexico and Central America. At that time, cocoa was still reserved for nobles and soldiers who would drink it before going to war or going hunting for strength. In the form of a drink, cocoa diluted with water with added spices, was consumed without moderation by these ancient peoples. During religious or ritual ceremonies, the Mayans worshiped their gods with “tchocolatl” (their name for the chocolate drink). In 1502, the Spaniards were looking for gold everywhere and found cocoa. In 1509, the Aztec emperor offered Cortes a welcome gift: [chocolate] article :. Then, upon his return to Spain, Cortes spread cocoa beans and invested in the processing of this food. Over the years, cocoa was sent all over Europe and around the world.

Mexico and Cocoa

Today, cocoa beans are exported by dozens of countries whose economy is more or less stable. Côte d’Ivoire produces about 400,000 tons annually while Brazil produces 300,000, Ghana 200,000, Nigeria 180,000, Cameroon 120,000, and Ecuador 75,000. Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia, for their part, have an annual production of 400,000, the equivalent of that of Côte d’Ivoire. Yet Mexico excels in cocoa production, at least quantitatively. Indeed, devalued by a multitude of hybridizations of varieties (about 8 sub varieties from Forastero, Criollo, Nacional and Trinitario), cocoa from Mexico is no longer on the list of high quality cocoas. However, a fabulous past bears witness to the great value attributed to Mexican beans, specifically from the state of Tabasco (more than 51,000 tons in 1985). And Real Cocoa Soconusco (a Mexican sub-variety) is considered the best in the world according to some chocolatiers. The Mexican government’s current policy is to revive cocoa production and install a sustainable industry that will transform some of the harvested products. For this reason, the country’s economy is sufficiently reliable thanks to the diversity of its growth sectors.