Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
There are a number of different cacao varieties that fall into three botanical groups: the Criollos, Forasteros, and Trinitarios. Criollo trees produce relatively mild beans with some of the finest, most delicate flavors, reminiscent of flowers and tea. Unfortunately, they are also disease-prone, low-yielding trees, and so provide less than 5% of the world crop. High-yielding, robust Forasteros provide most of the world’s cacao crop in the form of full-flavored “bulk” beans. Trinitarios are hybrids of a Criollo and Forastero, and have intermediate qualities.