The cocoa tree, scientifically called “Theobroma cacao”, is a tropical plant that comes from the equatorial and rainy regions of the Amazon and Mexico. This scientific term was chosen to define the cocoa tree because of its Mayan origins.
Indeed, the distant Mayan civilizations used cocoa in their ceremonies to worship the gods. The classification of cocoa trees has been difficult to identify. Only genetic analyses have made it possible to distinguish the existing varieties of cocoa trees: Forastero, Trinitario and Criollo. And gradually, new species have been invented thanks to the crossing of several varieties.
Trinitario, a Hybrid Variety
The origin of Trinitario cocoa trees is most enigmatic. Nevertheless, it is quite possible that the Trinitario trees come from a cross between a variety of Criollo and Forastero trees from the Amazonian forests. This hybridization between two large groups of cocoa trees was carried out in Trinidad, offshore from Venezuela, which earned it its name: Trinitario. As a result, it combines some aromatic and sensory virtues from the Criollo group with the strength and production yield of the Forastero group. Indeed, the quality of Trinitario and its external aspects imply a mixture between the two groups. However, other studies have shown that the first parents of the Trinitario kind belong to the Amelonado family (cocoa trees of Venezuelan origin and also introduced in Guyana). The pods’ shapes, the bean color and the plant size varies according to Trinitario subspecies. With pods that are red and turn orange at maturity, the Trinitario cocoa tree seduces the big producers because of its resistance and unparalleled flavor.
Trinitario World Production
Production of Trinitario cocoa trees represents 5% to 10% of world cocoa production. This group of cocoa trees is mainly found in Brazil, Mexico, Cameroon, Venezuela, the West Indies and Madagascar. 150 pods per Trinitario plant are harvested in one year of production, equivalent to an average of 6 kg of cocoa. In addition, major chocolate brands privilege Trinitario in the aromatization of their preparations. Thus, beans from the Trinitario cocoa group are selected by the chocolatiers for their highly variable taste depending on the production areas.
Nowadays, Trinitario cocoa products are used in chocolate recipes as well as in confectionery preparations (with Trinitario cocoa powder) and milk drinks.