Cocoa goes on a long journey before it is combined with milk and sugar, formed into bars, and enjoyed by consumers around the world. Creating just one chocolate bar is a process that can take months or even years, depending on how long cocoa beans are dried, fermented, and stored. The roasting, milling, and conching process then takes several days itself.

If you’ve ever wondered where chocolate comes from, continue reading for a look at the journey that cocoa takes from the farm to the factory.  

The Roots of the Cacao Tree

The cacao tree, or Theobroma cacao, produces fruits from which seeds are harvested, fermented, and dried to become what most people know as cocoa beans—although they are technically seeds. This tree is native to the Amazon rainforest and was first domesticated more than 5,300 years ago and brought to Central America by the Olmecs. Cocoa beans were a form of currency in Mesoamerica, and they were frequently used in cultural and spiritual ceremonies. Eventually, Spanish colonists brought cocoa back to Europe, creating a widespread demand for cocoa production. 

Modern Chocolate Production

Today, cacao is grown in more than 50 countries worldwide that are within the tropical geographic zone where cacao trees can survive and flourish. More than 70% of the world’s chocolate is grown in West Africa, specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Indonesia is the next largest producer of cocoa beans worldwide. 

Zotter Chocolate’s Cocoa Sources 

To combat the practices of deforestation and child labor that have historically been associated with large-scale cocoa farming, Zotter Chocolate has fair trade partnerships with small farms around the world. We buy directly from our suppliers to ensure complete traceability as well as exceptional quality in our beans. 

You can taste the distinctive varieties of fair trade cocoa we source from sustainable farms in our Labooko Pure Chocolate Bars, which showcase single origin cocoa beans from Madagascar, Peru, Togo, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Belize, Ghana, Uganda, Bolivia, India, and more. Shop our selection of single-origin chocolate bars and other delectable chocolate creations in our online store.