We often hear people asking themselves, “What IS Koko Samoa?” And that’s because cacao products from Samoa are pretty much unheard of outside of Samoa.
What Is Koko Samoa?
Koko Samoa is made from the cacao bean, the seed of a fruit that grows on the cacao tree. When you split open the cocoa fruit, you are left with a very bitter and sour tasting white pulp containing a large, flat, disc shaped seed.
With a bit of love and care, that seed can give you a wonderful treat.
Around the world there are two main varieties of cacao beans used to make chocolate. The Criollo variety is known for its fruity and floral characteristics. The Trinitario variety is known for its spicy notes and robust flavor. One of the rarest types of Trinitario is the Samoan Trinitario, which attracts a premium price.
Who Invented Koko Samoa?
Well before the first Europeans set foot on the islands, long before the missionaries came, our ancestors were already enjoying the fruit of the cacao tree. The very same tree that now grows in abundance across the islands, with no small thanks to their diligence in preserving it. The versatile fruit of this plant was used for everything from its wood, which was used as beams in houses and canoes, to fermented drinks, vinegars and desserts.
The most prized way to consume the cacao fruit was as a chocolate beverage. Powdered seeds were mixed with water and sometimes coconut oil, then heated together over an open fire until a rich thick liquid was formed. This chocolate drink was then consumed from shells, which were rinsed out repeatedly until they were white again.
Powdering cacao beans then turning it into a beverage however isn't unique to Samoa in that there are a few ancient cultures, like the Mayans, who use similar cacao beverages for ceremonial purposes. As with the case with chocolate, the flavour of the beverage is dependant on the beans used, and so Koko Samoa in our mind at least, holds the title as king of hot cocoa.
What makes Samoan Cacao special?
There are a lot of chocolate companies that want to buy from Samoa because of the premium grade Samoan Trinitario cacao. It is an old species of cacao that was once brought over from the Amazon to Polynesia and is now only found in Samoa.
So it’s not surprising that everyone wants our Koko Samoa. We even heard from chocolate makers abroad that they're willing to pay $200 a kilo for fresh cacao beans! And he would buy up about 10 tonnes of fresh beans for his business!
We have a hard time keeping up with everyone’s orders, which is why we often have a shortage of Koko Samoa.
The Koko Samoa sells in over 50 countries around the world
With our single-serve pods making the Koko Samoa drinking experience quick and easy, we're now seeing 20% of orders coming in from around the world. It's always surprising to learn just how far and wide Samoan culture and people have flourished, and even more amazing when non-Samoans put in their orders because they've experienced koko through a friend, on a trip to Samoa or on previous missionary trips.
How are people using Koko Samoa?
Koko Samoa can be made with just one ingredient, cacao. However Koko Samoa is often added to other dishes. I mean, chocolate flavoured anything, who wouldn't! Koko Samoa is also combined with ingredients such as coconut milk, coconut cream, water, pandanus leaves or koloale (sugarcane).
Mostly though, our customers replace their coffee routine with Koko Samoa single-serve pods which has a slower release of that buzz, and also satisfies that chocolate craving! It's a the beverage luxury without any guilt.