History of Cocoa

Dutch Cocoa


There has been one constant throughout cocoa’s evolution, from the first bitter beverage to the thousands of ways it is enjoyed today, cocoa has always enriched the lives of people who love “the food of the gods.”


Originating from the Americas, the real value of cocoa is believed to be first discovered by the Aztecs in Central America and used both as means for payment and as the ingredient for a powerful "drink of gods." It wasn't until the beginning of the 15th century, during the initial visit of Columbus to the "new world", that cocoa was brought into Europe.

Although the Spanish tried to keep this developing cocoa and chocolate industry to themselves, this new "taste" quickly found its way to the rich and wealthy of other countries.



Early processing

During the 18th century, Dutch merchants controlled virtually the entire trade in cocoa beans. Amsterdam developed into the most important cocoa port in the world and thereby stimulated a local cocoa industry.

Dutch initiatives established the basis of modern cocoa processing, this included the invention of the cocoa press to remove the fat from cocoa mass and the development of the Dutch Process of alkalization (by C.J. van Houten). These advances became the basis of Dutch supremacy in cocoa processing which remains true today.


Where do we find the world’s cocoa

Cocoa beans are the seeds of the fruit, or 'pod', of the cocoa tree. The cocoa tree grows in the warmest regions on earth, within 20 degrees north and south of the Equator. They can be classified in groups according to its geographic origin as well as characteristics, value and application


-       (West) Africa

-       Central and South America

-       Asia / Oceania


Approximately 60% of world production originates from Africa, mainly produced within a network of small farms and cooperatives.