History of Cocoa

The Indian Cocoa Story
The British East India Company brought Criollo cocoa beans to present day Tamil Nadu and Kerala from the Amboyna Island of Indonesia. Initially, the consumers were mainly Europeans based in India.
Post Independence (1947), the Central Government launched a joint initiative with Cadbury of England to expand cocoa cultivation in India. At first, Criollo beans were cultivated and Forastero cocoa plants were later brought in from West Africa.

The Kerala Connection
In the early 1970s, global cocoa prices soared and many plantations in Kerala began cultivating the trees. Existing Criollo trees were removed to avoid cross pollination. But when the prices suddenly dropped, most of the cocoa planters moved to rubber and other crops. A few plantations in Kerala continue to produce cocoa in the green state.

The Evolution of Chocolate
Around the 15th Century, the Spaniards arrived in the Americas (New World) to find the natives consuming a bitter drink devoid of sugar or flavour enhancement. The Aztecs called it ‘xocolatl’ and the Mayans ‘cacao’. The Spanish preferred the name xocolatl as cacao had an unpleasant meaning in their language. Cocoa beans made it to Spanish shores in 1585 and the Europeans further improved the drink by introducing cane sugar, honey, vanilla and other sweeteners and flavours. It wasn’t until the 19th Century, that the texture and flavour of chocolate was developed to resemble what we eat today.

The Chocolate Timeline

The earliest historical evidence of cocoa cultivation and use dates back to the Olmec Indians from present day Honduras.
The Mayans inherited the use of cocoa from the Olmecs and consumed it in the form of an unsweetened drink made from the ground beans.
Around this time, the Mayans started setting up cocoa plantations in the Yucatan region of Mexico. Cocoa beans were even used as currency.
The Mayans began trading with the Aztecs and paid them in cocoa beans. The Aztecs introduced local spices like chilli, cinnamon and pepper to the cocoa drink, which was consumed a restorative, medicinal and ceremonial beverage. They were also the first to tax the cocoa beans and restrict their use to noblemen and priests.
The Mayans began trading with the Aztecs and paid them in cocoa beans. The Aztecs introduced local spices like chilli, cinnamon and pepper to the cocoa drink, which was consumed a restorative, medicinal and ceremonial beverage. They were also the first to tax the cocoa beans and restrict their use to noblemen and priests.
Italian traveller Antonio Carletti discovered chocolate in Spain and took it to Italy. From Italy, chocolate spread to Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland.
Pioneer François Louis Callier launched the first Swiss chocolate factory in Corsier near Vevey.
Dutchman Coenraad Van Houten invented the hydraulic cocoa press, used to extract cocoa butter from cocoa mass. His patented ‘Dutch process’ improved the flavour of cocoa powder and produced a deeper colour through the alkalization of cocoa mass.
JS Fry and Sons of England made the first dark chocolate bar by adding cocoa butter and sugar to the dutched cocoa mass
Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter and his friend Henry Nestle’ made the first milk chocolate, after successfully inventing a process to dry milk.
Rudolph Lindt pioneered ‘conching’ a process to develop and refine the natural flavour of chocolate.
The Cocoacraft dream was launched. After years of painstaking research and dedication, we are now the makers of a wide range of premium quality chocolate couverture, cocoa powder, chocolate confectionery, assorted chocolate products, and pure cocoa butter.