Cultivation of cacao trees can occur only in tropical climates, 20 degrees north or south of the equator. Principal growing areas include West Africa, Brazil, Ecuador and the Indies. Generally, it takes five years before trees begin bearing fruit in the form of pods. Each pod contains an average of 20 to 40 cream-colored cocoa beans. Nearly 400 beans are required to make a pound of chocolate liquor, the semi-liquid mass produced by grinding the beans. A non-alcoholic substance, chocolate liquor is the basis of all chocolate and cocoa products.
We used to have cocoa trees, too ... or wait, maybe it's still there! We didn't use it for commercial purposes, but only for ourselves. yup, my mom roasted those beans herself then she'd bring them over somewhere (sorry, I'm not hundred percent sure, but I think it was the market), and when she returns the beans would have been ground already, ready for making them into round shapes, which we call tabliya. :)