March 7, 2013
Cutting a fresh cocoa bean reveals a complex grooved pattern.
White beans like these are rare. The absence of the purple color indicates fewer bitter anthocyanins. When processed, these beans produce a more mellow-tasting and intensely floral chocolate.
The beans pictured here come from a criollo pod. Criollo-type beans make chocolate of the highest quality.
Forasteros-type beans make up the gross majority of the cocoa produced per annum. They have beans with purple interior that lack the secondary notes of criollo chocolate. However, a rare subset of forasteros also produces a white bean. This subset, called nacional, was wiped out by disease. Only lower-quality hybrids were thought to remain until an isolated strain was recently found high in the Puruvian mountains.
White-interior beans result from isolated inbreeding that allow recessive mutations to surface after generations.
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