Cocoa, like a number of "exotic" beverages and spices, was originally served as a luxury drink to the Aztec court, and later to Spanish royalty. Gradually, the consumption of cocoa as a beverage spread throughout several major European cities, as it became more popular and less expensive.
The great transformation of cocoa from a beverage to a solid form began in 1828, when liquid cocoa butter (called liquor) could be pressed out of ground cocoa beans and then used as a base with sugar to make chocolate candy. The shift from beverage to solid candy added a whole new manufacturing component to the marketing chain, and made cocoa easily transportable and consumable. The invention of milk chocolate 40 years later further increased the attraction for chocolate and the demand for cocoa beans. Once cocoa became available to general society, its significance in the world marketplace was ensured.
The cocoa tree is strictly a tropical plant, thriving only in hot, rainy climates, with cultivation generally confined to areas not more than 20 degrees north or south of the equator. The fruit (bean) of the cocoa tree appears as pods. When ripe, these pods are cut down and opened, and the beans are removed, fermented, and dried.
Cocoa futures, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), trading symbol CC. The contract covers 10 metric tons. The minimum tick is 1.00, worth $10 per contract.
Trade electronically on the ICE platform from 4:45 a.m. U.S. ET to 1:30 p.m. U.S. ET.
Primary trading months for cocoa futures and options are March, May, July, September, and December.