The Cocoa Bean
Chocolate starts with a tree called the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao). This tree grows in equatorial regions, especially in places such as South America, Africa and Indonesia.


Photo courtesy Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate
This cacao tree seedling grows into the tree that will yield the cocoa beans.

The cacao tree produces a fruit about the size of a small pineapple. Inside the fruit are the tree's seeds, also known as cocoa beans.


Photo courtesy Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate
The ripe fruit of the cacao tree is about the size of a small pineapple.


Photo courtesy Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate
Inside the ripe pods are the cacao tree's seeds: the cocoa beans.