cocoa

The cocoa bean, also cacao bean or simply cocoa () or cacao (), is the dried and fully fermented fatty seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and cocoa butter are extracted. They are the basis of chocolate, as well as many Mesoamerican foods such as mole sauce and tejate. A cocoa pod (fruit) has a rough and leathery rind about to thick (this varies with the origin and variety of pod). It is filled with sweet, mucilaginous pulp (called ‘baba de cacao’ in South America) with a lemonade like taste enclosing 30 to 50 large seeds that are fairly soft and a pale lavender to dark brownish purple color. Due to heat buildup in the fermentation process, cacao beans lose most of the purplish hue and become mostly brown in color, with an adhered skin which includes the dried remains of the fruity pulp. This skin is released easily after roasting by winnowing. White seeds are found in some rare varieties, usually mixed with purples, and are considered of higher value. Historically, white cacao was cultivated by the Rama people of Nicaragua.