Have you ever wondered about where the cocoa beans necessary to make chocolate come from? It’s never a bad idea to learn about the ingredients in the foods we eat.
If you’re feeling curious about where cocoa beans are grown, you’re in the right place. In this chocolatey post, we’ll be talking about the countries cocoa beans come from and the kind of growing conditions they need.
Where are Cocoa Beans Grown?
The cacao tree from which cocoa beans come is originally from the Amazon basin. Because of this, cocoa trees like to grow in hot, tropical climates where their exposure to the cold is minimal.
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that many of the world’s top cocoa bean producers are African countries, such as the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ghana. Other countries that produce cocoa beans include Indonesia, Brazil, and Ecuador.
Where are Cocoa Beans Grown in the US?
Cocoa bean cultivation is mostly limited to tropical regions. The US doesn’t exactly have many of these within its borders. However, it does have a small handful of areas that are suitable for growing cocoa beans, nonetheless.
You can probably guess what the main one is: Hawaii. There is actually a growing chocolate industry in Hawaii nowadays.
Some say that Florida may also be a potential place to start growing cocoa, but Florida is more susceptible to volatile temperature changes and storms. Growing cocoa beans there could be challenging.
What Country Produces 40% of the World’s Cocoa Beans?
Wondering which country produces the majority of cocoa beans in the world? That would be the Ivory Coast, which produced around 40% of the world’s cocoa bean supply in 2017.
They continue to cultivate and export the majority of the world’s cocoa beans. In fact, since the 2017 data we referenced above, the Ivory Coast has grown to exceed 40% of global cocoa bean production.
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Can You Grow Cocoa Beans in California?
There’s a reason cocoa beans aren’t grown more widely in the United States. These trees are incredibly picky about their settings, thriving best in USDA zones 11, 12, and 13.
Their best environment for them is in hot, humid rainforests, where they are protected from both excessive wind and sun. Unfortunately, there are not many regions in California that support such growing conditions, although there may some areas in the southern part of the state that are potentially viable for cocoa bean growth.
Can You Grow Cocoa Beans in Florida?
Florida is possibly one of the more promising states in the US for growing cocoa beans. It does have warm and humid conditions that would be excellent for nursing cacao trees.
The problem is, Florida is also exposed to extreme weather conditions. Hurricanes and tropical storms are particularly detrimental to cocoa trees, which need to be protected from strong winds.
While it might be possible to grow cocoa trees in sunny Florida, it isn’t a common practice. If you live in Florida and would like to grow your own cocoa tree, consider getting a greenhouse to provide it stable shelter from the elements. We even have a list of the best greenhouses for central Florida to help you get started.
The next time you snack on some chocolate, take some time to appreciate the process that got it to you. Cocoa beans are surprisingly difficult to grow in most climates, so only a small range of countries are able to reliably produce this necessary ingredient to the chocolate we all know and love. Every single chocolate bar is, in some ways, a miracle of modern industry.