Dear Friends: There is just one species of cacao but different strains: Theobroma cacao, which is highly variable in its morphology depending of many surrounding factors and a quiet high unstable inner genetic, can be basically catalogued into two groups: The ones with purple seeds and the ones with white seeds. The purple seeded trees occasionally produce an offspring of a “albino” Cacao, which in some cases will bear only white seeded offspring creating a new strain by its own genetic changes. The terms “criollo” or “forastero” or “trinitario” means nothing, since “forastero” just means “foreign” and “criollo” means “local strain”. The central American cultures domesticated in ancient times strains with white or pink seeds because they knew that the lack of purple tannins in the seed produced a smoother chocolate drink, not as bitter as the purple seeded strains. So when a purple seeded strain appeared around they called it “foreign” and was usually rejected because of the bitterness of its seeds. So all purple seeded strains were considered forasteros independent of the exterior appearance of the Seedpod or Tree. But as well as today, different farmers cultivated and where passionate with different strains, however everybody knew that the whiter the seed, the better the chocolate drink, some domesticated pink seeded strains, other white seeded strains, etc. but all where “local strains” or criollos, pink seeded and white seeded. For example the natives of xoconusco, Mexico domesticated a strain with seeds with pink tones, in Izalco in El Salvador the natives domesticated a completely white seeded strain, and so forth... Some farmers, although in smaller scale domesticated purple seeded strains, these where local strains too, considered therefore “criollos”.
Short after the Spanish conquest two plagues attacked the central American region destroying most of the white seeded strains: Moniliasis and black pod disease. Since then, purple seeded hybrids, called trinitarios have ruled overt the market because of pest disease resistance and mayor production. This because the purple agents in the seeds repel most plagues and diseases and strengthens the plants productive properties but reducing strongly the flavor quality.
Because of this incident many of central American criollo strain plantations where greatly reduced and some strains even extinguished. Now with the new global fever for fine chocolate, many growers around the world are trying to rescue white seeded hairloom strains or create white seeded strain hybrids to get the best tasting chocolate of all. In my case I´m trying to rescue only pure white and soft pink seeded strains for my plantation. The final complex flavors of the resulting chocolate are afected by the micronutrients of the earth where it is planted, so each cacao from a different location will have its own bouquet as in coffee