The history of cocoa tree originally found growing wild in the low foothills of the Andes at elevations of around 200–400 m (650–1300 ft) in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins. It requires a humid climate with regular rainfall and good soil. It is an understory tree that growing best with some overhead shade. The leaves are alternate, entire, unlobed, 10–40 cm (4–16 in) long and 5–20 cm (2–8 in) broad. Poisonous and inedible, they are filled with a creamy, milky liquid and taste spicy and unpleasant. Cacao flowers are produced in clusters directly on the trunk and older branches and they are small with 1–2 cm (1/2–1 in) diameter with pink calyx. While many of the world's flowers are pollinated by bees (Hymenoptera) or butterflies/moths (Lepidoptera), cacao flowers are pollinated by tiny flies known as Forcipomyia midges in the order Diptera. The cocoa fruit are called a cacao pod is ovoid with 15–30 cm (6–12 in) long and 8–10 cm (3–4 in) wide. When the fruit tart ripening the skin color change from yellow to orange and weighs about 500 g (1 lb) when ripe. The pod contains from 20 to 60 seeds and usually called "beans" embedded in a white pulp. The seeds are the main ingredient of chocolate, while the pulp is used in some countries to prepare a refreshing juice. Each seed contains a significant amount of fat (40–50%) as cocoa butter. Their most noted active constituent is theobromine, a compound similar to caffeine.
There are three main cultivar groups of cacao beans used to make cocoa and chocolate.The most prized cocoa are rare and expensive is the Criollo Group, the cocoa bean used by the Maya. Only 10% of chocolate is made from Criollo, which is less bitter and more aromatic than any other bean. The cacao bean in 80% of chocolate is made using beans of the Forastero Group. Forastero trees are significantly hardier than Criollo trees, resulting in cheaper cacao beans. Trinitario as a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero is used in about 10% of chocolate. The best cocoa clone in Malaysia are KKM Clone, PB Clone and few local clones. Raub Area in Pahang produce high quality cocoa beans in Malaysia priced about RM 8.00 - RM 16.00 per kilogram dries beans.