The cocoa bean is the seed of the cocoa tree, or Theobroma cacao, native to the tropical regions of the Americas from Mexico to the Amazon Basin. The fruit of the cocoa tree, the pod, contains 20 to 40 cocoa beans. The beans contain concentrated amounts of fat and starch, as well as theobromine, the compound used in making chocolate.
Cocoa beans--along with other cocoa products such as cocoa nibs, cocoa powder and cocoa butter--are available from a variety of online suppliers, including Natural Zing, Nuts Online and Raw Food World. Cocoa beans are available raw or peeled. Seek out beans that are Certified Organic to assure pure taste and chemical-free processing.
Buying from Specialty Stores
Cocoa beans are sold at many health stores and organic food suppliers. Search Organic Store Locator for outlets in your area. Seek out Fair Trade merchants that support fair labour practices in cocoa farming.
Buying from Local Suppliers
Cocoa beans are often available at ethnic markets that cater to Latin and Mexican communities. Local farmers' markets and produce sellers are also a source for organic cocoa beans. Search Local Harvest to find local sellers in your area.