El Trinitario - Best of Both Worlds (Lo Mejor de Dos Mundos)

The information you are about to read is my opinion derived from my research this far. I use what I get from web sites, books and my own experiences with cultivating over 500 cacao (chocolate) plants so far. (Esta informacion es mi opinion despues de amplia investigacion. Uso sitios de web, libros y mi propia experiencia cultivando mas de 500 matas de cacao (chocolate). 
All Pods are from Trinitario Trees / Todas las mazorcas son de matas Trinitario

Favorite Red Trinitario Pod / Favorita mazorca roja Trinitaria
Trinitario is a make up of one Criollo cacao plant crossed with a Forastero cacao plant in order to attain the best traits from both species. The Criollo is valued for tastes/flavor and it is said to have been the original and most common type for some time until the 1950's when the Trinitario mix was created and publicized in Trinidad, thus the title, Trinitario. Just like many other desired fruits of the world, humans have kept their own favorite cacao plants throughout time creating their own crossings in order to get a plant with characteristics of their liking. Whether it was a Family, Small Farmer or Large Businesses they all contributed to the existence of the mixes we have today and there are many mixes.
My favorite cacao tree. / Mi mata favorita de cacao.

Yellow more Criollo shaped Pod / Mazorca amarilla formada mas como las especie Criollo
So much so that many have lost track and in recent years since the early 2000's at least when DNA testing became effectively used we come to find out that the plants/trees that were labeled had been labeled incorrectly. It's almost like starting over, instead now DNA testing and newer technologies are pinpointing more information, more accurately. These though seem to be the most agreed upon facts as far as the most original characteristics of the three (3), some people would say four (4) major cacaos including the Arriba/Nacional from Ecuador. Forasteros in general have thicker pod shells when cut open, more beans/seeds and a more rounder pod much like an Avocado, ovoid instead of elongated like a flat American Football as most original Criollo pods were said to be. The Criollo produces less beans/seeds with less pods on their limbs in comparison to the Forastero and then you add the Criollos susceptibility to most cacao diseases you better believe the taste had a lot to do with its survival. I am sure many folks were concerned with keeping the Criollo in existence after so many other specimens like it were being wiped out across the globe by the deadliest of virus' mainly Witches Broom, Black Pod and Frosty Pod Rot. Most of the Chocolate available in the United States like bulk chocolate and syrups are made from the more abundant Forastero and Trinitario. Many high end chocolates can and have been made from Forasteros including Arriba/Nacional, which is said to come from the Forastero lineage, but you will find that the most expensive chocolates are made wholly or in part with Criollo cacao beans or Trinitarios that have taken on characteristics of their Criollo lineage.
Only had 16 big seeds compared to 20-35 in the others / Nadamas trajo 16 semillas comparado a las 20 a 35 que tuvieron las otras mazorcas Trinitarias

(El Trinitario existe por la mezcla de una mata Criolla con una Forastero para tratar de obtener lo mejor de los dos especie. El Criollo es valuado por su sabor y porque dicen que es el cacao original y mas abundante hasta el año 1950 cuando fue conocido la nueva mezcla como Trinitario, hecho en la isla de Trinidad. Como otras frutas deseadas del mundo los humanos han mantenido sus matas favoritas de cacao con caracteristicas ecojida specificamente para ellos mismos. Sean Familias, pequeñas empresas o aquellas grandes empresas todos han hecho contribucion a las tantas mezclas de cacao que tenemos hoy en dia. Tantas variaciones hay que muchos han perdido cuenta. En primeros años del 2000 cuando los examenes de DNA comenzaron a ser mas efectuoso para distinguir entre tipos de cacao.

Las caracteristicas que en general atribuyen al los tres (3) algunos dicen cuatro (4) mayores tipos de cacao si contamos el Arriba/Nacional de Ecuador serian que el Forastero tienen la cascara de la mazorca mas gruesa cuando las abrrimos en mitad, tienen mas semillas/granos y las mazorca del Forastero es mas redonda como mas como un aguacate y menos como los Criollos que en general son mas larga y parecen a una bola desinflada de futbol Americano. El cacao Criollo produce menos semillas/granos en menos mazorcas y son mas propenso a viros como "Escoba de Bruja, Mazorca Negra, Mal Del Machete". Aunque tengan tantas males todavia lo crecian y pinso que tiene mucho que ver con el sabor. Claro que hay muchos que trataron de salvar la especie del Criollo que desaparecia mas y mas dia por dia. La mayoria del chocolate en comercio y en liquido en los Estado Unidos bienen del especie abundante Forastero. Econtraras que aunque la mayoria de chocolates caros son hecho en parte o completamente de granos de cacao Criollo o aquellos Trinitario que han obtenido caracteristicas de su linaje Criollo. Tambien varios chocolates hecho del grano Forastero del Arriba/Nacional cacao de Ecuador cual el muy raro de encontrar aunque sea Forastero.)

Making Dark Chocolate at Home from Donated Cacao Pods

Mother cacao Tree doing very well
Growing right out of the tree  trunk
Slightly more ripe yellow drupes (aka pods)

Fruit of the Gods: Theobroma cacao
This is the mother tree for all of our current chocolate making purposes. This tree is at least 15 years old. Probably a Forastero cultivar or hybrid. We would love to get our hands on a Criollo variety cacao tree, which is known to be one of the original cacao trees offering high quality fruit and beans ultimately leading to a better tasting end product, but it's not all in the genes. Overall tree care, fermentation process, drying and roasting will all significantly affect the taste of your chocolate product.
Gives you an idea of the size pods we received.

Two cacao pods from the same tree. One ripe and one over-ripe

Individual beans after being separated from their womb-like pod

Over-ripe pod with beans germinating inside
The beans in the dark brown pod were useless as far as making chocolate is concerned, but since they had a head start by being germinated already we just planted them in a mix of well draining soil mixed with mushroom derived compost.

The yellow pod gave us fresh beans with sweet and slightly sour pulp. Very similar taste to the limoncillo (aka Melicoccus bijugatus, Spanish Lime/genip/mamoncillo/guinepa). Most of the pulp was left intact since it is necessary for the fermentation process. After being fermented for three days indoors unlike the typical outdoor fermentation where it is placed between Banana leaves or simply stacked amongst each other. After fermentation we completed the drying stage naturally in open air under the sun then roasted the beans in order to separate the outer shell from the nibs and also to complete the drying and get just the right chocolatey, nutty flavor. Then during the processing you can add other ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. This is where we will be experimenting with several pods in order to see what taste profiles we end up with. The first batch came out okay, but the next few batches will get spiced up a bit. Here are some more pictures of the original pod and our end result, which was powder cacao aka cocoa.

Succulent moist pulp

Now that's ripe!

Here are the goodies. Beans are said to start fermenting as soon as they're exposed to oxygen.

Some breathing and drainage holes for disintegrating pulp.

Keeping the beans warm and cozy along with trusty thermometer line
After three days fermenting. Already smells like alcohol.

After drying in the sun for two days. Now it really smells like alcohol.

These are the beans after roasting and removing the shells.
Start with some sugar in a coffee blade grinder. Going for a 70/30 dark chocolate

After adding the cacao beans we get a nice cocoa powder.

Under the Chocolate Umbrella Part II

Experimenting with different soil organics under the Theobroma cacao canopy - It was exactly two months ago that the first part of this experiment was presented. We started 3 cacao (chocolate) seeds in FoxFarm's Ocean Forest potting soil. One was left in the Ocean Forest soil only, the 2nd received a 1/2 teaspoon of Great White - Mycorrhizae, while the 3rd sample was supplemented with Native Nutrients 100% Mushroom Compost.
After only 2 months of growth we have noticed some measurable results.
Our control cacao plant in only potting soil had much more vigor and growth than the sample with added mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae does not supply any nutritional value so as of this month we will be adding fresh potting soil on a monthly basis along with the continued supplement of 1/2 teaspoon of mycorrhizae and growth will continue to be documented. The control cacao did NOT receive any added soil until this month, so if the mycorrhizae has any effect, then it should illustrate itself in its sample for it is the only variable between the two.
Cacao with mycorrhizae supplement
Control cacao with only Ocean Forest soil
 The mushroom compost seemed to have a positive impact on its cacao sample. It shows the most significant growth in thickness of stem, deepest green leaf coloring and significant noticeable root growth. The only noticeable negative was considerable leaf burn. There was also some noticeable leaf damage on the oldest leaf only of the mycorrhizae fortified sample and NO leaf damage at all for the plain Ocean Forest soil sample. Interesting, but I have no clear reasoning for this yet, but it one effect being observed and documented.
The sample with added mycorrhizae is about one leaf behind the others and most of its leaves are smaller even they all germinated and have grown pretty consistently with each other until we started this experiment. We will keep an eye on this most wonderful economical plant. There is so much more to be learned from it.
Cacao sample with added mushroom compost

Mushroom compost view 2

Mycorrhizae sample view 2
Control cacao sample view 2
Root growth exhibited only by mushroom compost sample

Did you know that raw cacao benefits human longevity and health without negative side effects?

Unlike processed dark chocolate, antioxidants are preserved in raw cacao. Benefits from keeping organic chocolate unheated include; much higher levels of the famous chocolate antioxidants (oligomeric procynanidins, resveratrol and the polyphenols: catechin and epicatechin) as well as the preservation of vitamin C, phenethylamine (PEA, the feel good neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love!), Omega 6 fatty acids (which when heated become rancid and cause inflammation), tryptophan (a commonly deficient amino acid in those who consume a diet of mostly cooked food) and serotonin. The cool facts about chocolate in this article reveal how this fun and amazing superfood is actually healthy for you!
It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.
Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system.

Take a look at the "Secrets of Longevity" web site for the rest of their article: Did you know that raw cacao benefits human longevity and health without negative side effects?

 Also....This from Naturalnews.com:

Reposted from NaturalNews.com: Swedish researchers have contributed the latest glad tidings to a growing number of studies indicating chocolate is beneficial for the cardiovascular system. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists found that women, who ate the most chocolate, had a 20 percent reduction in their stroke risk: USA Today reports. In this case, the quantity consumed was approximately two candy bars per week.

The antioxidants value of foods listed are expressed in ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units. A measurement for antioxidants developed by the National Institute on Aging in the National Institutes of Health.

Author Susanna Larsson explains that the healthful components of cocoa are compounds called flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity and the ability to impede the harmful oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as "bad cholesterol." Since the oxidation of LDL leads to the formation of plaque that causes cardiovascular disease, the hindrance of this process reduces the risk of stroke. In addition to this advantage, previous studies have shown dark chocolate consumption can lower blood pressure and insulin resistance, as well as help prevent the formation of blood clots.

In spite of the positive findings, Larsson cautions against eating too much chocolate. She advises that it be consumed in moderation, due to its high content of calories, fat and sugar. Larsson also states that dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate because it has more cocoa and less sugar.

The researchers at Karolinska Institute studied 33,000 women between the ages of 49 and 83 over a 10-year period. Scientists compared data from the participants' questionnaires about their chocolate consumption with their stroke risk to determine if a correlation existed. Results revealed the more chocolate the women consumed, the less stroke incidence they incurred. The findings were significant because those who ate 2.3 ounces of chocolate per week had a 20 percent reduced stroke incidence compared to those who seldom ate chocolate.

Although the study does not prove chocolate was responsible for the reduced incidence, after controlling for other stroke risk factors, the results persisted: Larsson relayed to CBS News. Additionally, she expects the results to apply to men also. Regardless of the suggested benefit, experts are advising people to keep the results in perspective and not substitute chocolate for vegetables.

Under the Chocoalte Umbrella - Experimenting with different soil organics under the Theobroma cacao canopy

I started three cacao seeds that were passed on to me from a cacao tree in the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. The first seedling was the control and potted only with Fox Farm's Ocean soil, the second seedling also with this soil, but I added beneficial mycorrhizae in powder form. The last seedling received and will continue to be fed "Native Nutrients 100% Mushroom Compost" alongside it's Fox Farm Ocean mix. All 3 plants will be kept on an East facing window with morning light exposure at around 50/50 light to shade until about 11a and then on until sundown they will have bright shade. Indoor temperatures average around 72 degrees (f) with between 62-78% humidity in it's placement within the kitchen. With cacao plants growing so well under shade it is quite obvious that their relationship with beneficial bacteria and fungi is essential for it's basic survival and growth.

There are only a two variables that can interfere with results like depth of the pots (not likely, but easily visible if it becomes a factor) and the fact that one of the cacao seedlings (in mushroom compost mix) after removing its dried out, outer brown skin looks to be a pale green bean versus the reddish brown undercover pigmentation of the other two beans.
We shall see. I've read, "The Chocolate Tree - A Natural History of Cacao" by Allen M. Young and if you're interested in chocolate like I am then you should at least read this through once along with "The Chocolate Tree: A Natural History of Cacao" (Smithsonian Nature Books), which seems to be a different book by the same author.
Control Bean "A"

Bean "B" w/ Mushroom compost
Bean "B" picture 2

Bean "C" w/ Mycorrhizae
Bean "C" picture 2
Control Bean "A" picture 2