Check out these 21 facts about cacao trees and chocolate!
- It takes about 5 years for cacao trees to produce their first fruit, called cacao pods.
- The cacao tree grows to be about 30 feet tall bearing white flowers and colorful fruit.
- The pollination process of the flowers of the cacao tree is done by flies, not bees.
- Cacao pods have a hard shell and is usually red, yellow, or orange.
- It takes cacao pods about 4-5 months to grow and several weeks to ripe.
- Pods are harvested by being cut with a sharp blade. The beans are extracted and then go through fermentation and drying processes.
- Each pod holds roughly 40 to 50 cacao beans.
- It takes about 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate.
- The beans take about 5 days to ferment in specialized boxes and 1-2 weeks to sun dry.
- Generally, candy bars have less than 10 milligrams of caffeine, but the darker the candy, the higher the caffeine.
- Europeans account for almost half the world’s consumption of the candy about 24 pounds a year, according to the International Cocoa Organization.
- Cadbury made the first chocolate bar in the world in 1842.
- Thorntons created the world’s largest candy bar to celebrate their 100th birthday. It weighed 12,770 pounds.
- The Chocolate Chip Cookie inventor sold the idea to Nestle Toll House for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
- In 1941, M&Ms were created so soldiers could enjoy chocolate without it melting.
- The white variety doesn’t contain cocoa solids or cocoa liquor, which means it’s not technically chocolate. It contains cocoa butter instead.
- It is believed ancient Mayans are believed to be the first people to regularly grow cacao trees and drink chocolate.
- About 3 million tons of cocoa is produced worldwide each year.
- The cacao tree requires humidity, good soil drainage, and regular rainfall.
- The top cacao production countries include Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico.
- The average American consumes about 12 lbs. per year.
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Just Fun Facts
There's a lot more to chocolate than the flavor!