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A tropical evergreen tree that loves humidity, heat and shade, it grows only in equatorial regions within the protective shadow of taller trees. Throughout the year, thousands of white or pink blossoms can be found growing directly from its trunk. However very few of the flowers will produce cocoa pods, an oval fruit containing the famous cocoa beans. Yellow, red or orange, depending on the type of crop grown, the pods are cut from the tree when they reach maturity. After harvesting, the beans ripen and immediately take on a purplish hue on contact with the air. The fermentation process begins, with the characteristic flavours and aromas of chocolate starting to emerge with the pulp. Gradually, its unusual bitter and astringent flavour becomes milder and the bean changes colour, turning from purple to a brownish hue.

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