Forastero cocoa: robust and versatile

In the world of chocolate, Forastero cocoa is one of the most widespread and cultivated varieties. Unlike Criollo cocoa, Forastero is known for its resistance and high productivity. This variety accounts for the majority of global cocoa production and plays an essential role in the chocolate industry.


The Forastero (the foreigner or non-Creole) was domesticated in 1639 by the Spanish Jesuits in the Bahia region of Brazil. It is used for so-called “Raw” cocoa which represents 80 to 90% of world production. The pods are round and smooth, green or yellow in color with purple, flat beans. the beans have strongly bitter, astringent and tart flavors

Origin and distribution

Forastero cocoa takes its name from the Spanish "forastero", meaning "foreign" or "non-native". Originally from the Amazon, this variety of cocoa has spread to other parts of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America over time. Today it is grown mainly in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil.

Flavors and aromas

Forastero cocoa is distinguished by its rounder and smaller beans than those of Criollo. They have a darker color and a thicker shell, which makes them more resistant to disease and adverse weather conditions. The cocoa paste extracted from Forastero beans is often more bitter and less aromatic than that of Criollo.

However, it is important to note that Forastero cocoa does not necessarily mean lower quality chocolate. There is a wide variety of flavor profiles and qualities in this category. Some premium Forasteros can offer rich flavors and fruity aromas, while others can be used to produce more robust, full-bodied chocolate.

Chocolates of the world Theobroma cacao Forastero Amelonado, Bahia Brazil.
Theobroma cacao L. Forastero Amelonado, Bahia Brazil.

Uses and sustainability

Forastero cocoa is very versatile and is commonly used in the chocolate industry. Its strength and productivity characteristics make it a popular choice for large-scale chocolate manufacturers. Forastero beans are often blended with other varieties, including Criollo and Trinitario, to create balanced flavors and unique chocolate profiles.

From a sustainability perspective, Forastero cocoa has advantages in terms of yield and disease resistance, allowing farmers to achieve more stable production. However, there are also concerns about Forastero monoculture, which can lead to a loss of genetic diversity and make plantations more vulnerable to diseases and pests.

Chocolates of the world Cacao forastero in Sao Tome and Principe

Theobroma cacao L. Forastero in São Tomé

Enjoy Forastero cocoa

Forastero cocoa is omnipresent in many chocolate products that we consume every day. Its robust flavor and bitterness make it a solid base for many types of chocolate, from bars to candies to hot drinks.

The next time you enjoy a piece of chocolate, remember that Forastero plays an essential role in your chocolate enjoyment. Although it may be less exotic than Criollo, Forastero cocoa is a versatile variety that can also offer us wonderful grands crus depending on the terroirs and farming methods.

Chocolates of the world Cabosse Theobroma cacao L. Forastero são tomé
Chocolates of the world Cocoa tree Theobroma cacao L. Forastero são tomé
Pod Theobroma cacao L. Forastero Amelonado São Tomé. Cocoa tree Theobroma cacao L. Forastero são tomé Amelonado, São Tomé.



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