Criollo, Trinitario, Forastero - Are these cacao varieties a modern day myth?

There is so much information surrounding cacao that the average consumer can easily feel overwhelmed and misguided. 

I'm often asked why I don't specify on my labels what variety Mamamuti's cacao is. The answer is straight forward - nature is complex, super intelligent, ever changing and cannot be defined. Our need to outwit, classify and box everything we extract from nature for marketing and branding purposes, I feel, can be damaging and misleading. False narratives create enormous division and allow a select few, often those who hold power, to exploit well-meaning consumers for personal gain and profit. 

The current and popular classification of cacao into three varieties - criollo (SUPERIOR), trinitario (AVERAGE) and forastero (POOR) is rudimental.

The cacao tree, in its great wisdom, connects and crossbreeds with SO many other trees. Cacao's very nature is to create abundance and resilience through diversification. This is done naturally, but can also occur through intentional hybridisation.

Did you know that multiple new varieties of cacao are birthed every year?

Even botanists and scientists cannot stay up to date!

It is true that criollo, trinitario and forastero were the original ancestors, however, right now we are surrounded by so many of their descendants, each with a unique personality, flavour and flair. They are modern day expressions of an ancient code. A bit like coffee, tea or wine. 

How could we be so arrogant and break cacao down into just 3 varieties then? Isn't it insulting to the intelligence of nature? Does it not limit our ability to open up and play - with respect - in the vast, boundless, modern day 'cacaoful' field that is rich with eco-diversity, delight and nourishment? 

Be mindful of labels and greenwashed marketing campaigns that create division and a sense of superiority. There are brands that place enormous emphasis on reductive terms when they speak of cacao. The type of language they use implies that they are the 'experts' and that only 'their' cacao is the 'best' or most 'trusted'.

Isn't ALL cacao delicious, nutrient-dense, healing and beautiful? Isn't the heart of ALL cacao about love, unity and equal abundance? 

What if we drop the classification system we bring to cacao varieties and hero the lands and the names of the growers instead? What if we trusted our intuitive knowing more and gave less airtime to modern day terms? What if we allowed ourselves the freedom to simply enjoy the whole and full spectrum of cacao, instead of intellectualising, compartmentalising and complicating it so much? 


Mmmm, I wonder if this could spark a radical and empowered paradigm shift in how we relate and connect with cacao? 



Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published