Cocoa beans have numerous similarities to coffee beans, with some important differences in processes. They are both fermented (fermented cocoa almost looks already roasted), roasted and ground for use. Cocoa beans come in three primary species, Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario. The Criollo is analogous to Arabica coffee in that it is the cream of the crop and has the most delicate and complex array of flavors. Many of the new "micro chocolate makers" such as Scharffenberger and El rey are using this species. The Forastero can be compared to Robusta coffee in its disease resistance and higher production, but that is where the comparison ends. Where robusta is just horrid 99% of the time, Forastero is not like that. It has a strong full cocoa flavor, but depending on the grade and preparation, can be rather dull. Well prepared Forastero is what most of us are used to eating in chocolate. Finally, Trinitario is a hybrid of the two, and can have various characters of both parents. Often a Trinitario
bean is spoken of as having a strong or weak Criollo influence.
You can see the wide variety of appearances the cocoa beans can take and how fermentation can affect that appearance.
Unfermented Barinas Criollo
Fermented Barinas Criollo
Carenero Superior Criollo/Trinatario
Please check back as I get new beans in, or you are welcome to drop me a note and I will notify you when I get new supplies in.
As for the blue jeans. Well, what can I tell you, the person who coded the page created the title and my partner liked it. Maybe I can get a picture of cocoa beans on blue jeans to add later. Check back.