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What variety of cacao beans are there?

There are hundreds of sub-species and cross-strains of cacao, each with unique flavour profiles. 

However, there are three well-known varieties of the cacao plant:



This is a low quality, high-yielding bean produced in bulk and make up over 80% of the world’s chocolate supply.  It is most commonly grown in West Africa


This is the most highly regarded and well-sought after variety making only 1-5% of the world’s cacao production.  It is a fragile bean with low yield due to its high susceptibility to disease.  Its refined, smooth and complex flavour makes it the most sought after variety used by fine chocolatiers.  



The delicate and precious Criollo bean requires the shade of large native trees which keep the soil humid and rich in nutrients.  A careful balance of sunlight and shade, maintained through careful and attentive pruning ensures the soil retains optimal levels of nutrients without spoiling and becoming diseased from funghi. 



When grown in its indigenous soils with traditional and sustainable farming practices, the compounds found in these beans are what makes this variety exemplar for use in cacao ceremonies and exactly what we have sourced for you here at Smile Cacao.


A hybrid strain of cacao with widely varying taste profiles makes up less than 10% of the world’s cacao production

Additionally, the hundreds of sub-species and cross-strains are grown in various soils with a variety of farming practices right across the globe. 

You can purchase the ground cacao paste of the pure Criollo bean, nothing added, nothing taken away – right here at Smile Cacao – providing the smoothest, richest flavour and the deepest, most profound spiritual experience.  Smile Cacao is here to support you to connect within, to your intuition, to your wisdom, to your inner fire.  We are so excited to provide you with this sacred cacao to make your body, mind and soul SMILE.