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    I am planning a trip to Costa Rica in a few months and if I'm able to locate some good, fermented and dried (but not roasted) cacao beans, I'd like to bring them back.  I've tried the USDA site and the CBP site and I'm having a heck of a time trying to figure out what limitations there are on bringing them into the U.S., other than the fact that one should declare them.  Does anyone here have some insight?  Are they treated any differently than coffee beans (which, I imagine, would generally be roasted already)?  Is there a limit to what I can bring back?  Are they subject to quarantine?

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Where are you going to in the states, Deborah? That can make a big difference. Most places in the states are OK, except for Hawaii where they grow cacao so you don't want to introduce fungal spores that may be on the unroasted beans.
I live in California and will be flying directly back here.
Shouldn't be a problem. I brought 4 kg of cacao beans from Mexico into SFO, showed it to the USDA inspectors, told them what it was & where it came from, and they didn't seem to care much about it. Explain that it's been fermented and is no longer viable seed to germinate plants, which is what they're mainly concerned about.
very much appreciated, Nat.
Thanks! Now, all I have to do is locate some...
I just returned from a vacation in costa rica and found that you can buy beans from the indigenous people on the caribbean coast. Their trade organization is appta ( ), and you can buy some of their beans from the cacao house on the road to bri bri from puerto viejo for about $4/kilo.

Also, John at Carribeans coffee shop in Puerto Viejo makes his own chocolate (actually conched as opposed to a lot of the other rustic chocolate you find on the coast) and is very nice to talk with if you end up over that way.


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