Nacional cocoa: a national treasure to discover

Nacional cocoa, also known as nativo cocoa, is a variety of cocoa specific to certain Latin American countries. It is often considered a national heritage and a source of pride for these regions. Nacional cocoa is valued for its unique characteristics and important cultural role.


The Nacional or “arriva de babahoyo” (from above) has been domesticated since 1635 in Ecuador. Similar to Forastero, the pods are round and smooth, green or yellow in color with purple beans. Its beans are often smaller and have a more rounded shape than other varieties of cocoa. They can vary in color, from white to dark purple, depending on the growing region. It is rare and represents only 1 to 3% of global production. The beans have sweet and floral aromas, slightly astringent and bitter.

acao Nacional, we recommend the Ecuacao fermenter and sourcer.
Theobroma Cacao L. Nacional from Ecuacao .

Origin and cultural significance

National cocoa has its origins in countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia, where it has been cultivated for centuries. In these regions, cocoa is more than just an agricultural crop; it is closely linked to local history, culture and economy.

Nacional cocoa is considered a valuable cultural heritage, often passed down from generation to generation. It is used in culinary traditions and ancestral rituals, and plays a central role in the customs and festivities of these countries.

Flavors and aromas

In terms of taste, national cocoa offers a wide diversity of flavor profiles. Some domestic cocoas may feature fruity, floral, or spicy aromas, while others have nutty or caramel notes. Each country and region has its own terroir and specific processing methods, which contribute to the uniqueness of the flavors of Nacional cocoa.

Cutting test to analyze the quality of beans after the post-harvest process of nacaional beans at Ecuacao.
Cutting test to analyze the quality of beans after the post-harvest process of nacaional beans at Ecuacao .

Conservation and sustainability

The preservation of Nacional cocoa is essential to preserve the cultural heritage and genetic diversity associated with this cocoa variety. Local communities and farmers often engage in traditional and sustainable agricultural practices to preserve biodiversity and maintain the quality of national cocoa.

However, Nacional cocoa production is often limited due to its specific nature and the challenges of growing and marketing it. Growing awareness and support for these national cocoa varieties can help ensure their long-term sustainability.

Enjoy Nacional cocoa

When you taste chocolate made from Nacional cocoa, you discover a specific history and culture that is reflected in every bite. Each variety of Nacional cocoa offers a unique experience, allowing you to discover the flavors and traditions of a specific country or region.

More and more chocolatiers and artisanal producers are highlighting this cocoa, creating chocolates that celebrate and preserve its distinctive character. This provides consumers with a unique opportunity to support local communities and participate in the preservation of this cultural heritage.

In conclusion, Nacional cocoa is much more than just an ingredient in the world of chocolate. It embodies the history, culture and passion of entire communities. Discovering and tasting Nacional cocoa offers an enriching taste experience and an immersion in the cultural richness of the countries that produce it.

For the purchase of Nacional cocoa beans, we recommend the Ecuacao fermenter and sourcer.


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