There are two types of cocoa beans. More than 90% of cocoa produced annually can be considered as bulk (or basic) cocoa. Bulk cocoas mostly come from Africa and Brazil, mainly of the forastero variety. Fine and flavor cocoas have distinctive aroma and flavor characteristics, sought after by chocolate manufacturers. They represent only 5% of world cocoa production.
The International Cocoa Standards require cocoa of merchantable quality to be fermented, thoroughly dry, free from smoky beans, free from abnormal or foreign odors and free from any evidence of adulteration. It must be reasonably free from living insects, broken beans, fragments and pieces of shell and foreign matter and reasonably uniform in size.
Throughout the world the standards against which all cocoa is measured are those of Ghana cocoa. Cocoa is graded on the basis of the count of defective beans in the cut test. Defective beans should not exceed the following limits:
Mouldy beans, maximum 3% by count
Slaty beans, maximum 3% by count
Insect-damaged, germinated or flat beans, total maximum 3% by count
Mouldy beans, maximum 4% by count
Slaty beans, maximum 8% by count
Insect-damaged, germinated or flat beans, total maximum 6% by count