The cocoa tree is native to the equatorial region of Central America. The Olmec, who are thought to be the first people in past centuries to cultivate the cocoa tree, named it “Cacao”, a name adopted by the Maya (approx. 400 BC to AD 100) and later by the Spanish conquistadors. The word “chocolate” derives from “Chocol haa”, the name of a chocolate drink brewed by the Maya. In 1753, natural scientist Charles de Linné named the mallow Theobroma Cacao, which is Greek for “food of the gods”.
The history of cocoa
The most important countries of origin for cocoa
The cocoa tree can only be cultivated under certain climatic conditions. It grows in a small band spanning 20 degrees north and south of the equator and is primarily cultivated on lower lying land or at moderate altitudes in tropical regions. Close to the equator, it can even be grown at up to 1,000 metres above sea level.