The Production of Cocoa Powder (Cocoa Butter)
Processing cocoa fruit begins with hand harvesting the ripe cocoa pods. The cocoa pods are opened to remove the beans. The beans are then fermented for about 3 to 5 days to stop germination and to initiate flavor development. After, the beans are sun dried and sorted prior to processing. At a processing plant the beans are roasted, which creates a darker cocoa color and promotes flavor enhancement. The shell surrounding the bean is removed after roasting and the cocoa nib remains. The roasted cocoa nibs pass through a series of sieves, which strain and sort them according to size in a process called winnowing. The nib is the base ingredient for making chocolate. The nib can be ground into a paste to create chocolate liquor which is used in chocolate bars. If processed further, the fat is removed to produce cocoa butter used in beauty products and chocolate bars. This leaves the cocoa presscake, which is milled into cocoa powder used in baking and hot cocoa drink.
Cocoa is the superfood of all superfood. Cocoa is one of the highest sources of magnesium in nature, full of antioxidants, calcium, zinc, copper and selenium. Cocoa contains more antioxidants per gram than blueberries, goji berries, red wine, raisins, prunes and even pomegranates.
Cocoa powder is rich in theobromine, which helps to reduce inflammation and can protect you from diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Since cocoa is rich in phytonutrients but low in fat and sugar, the calories you get from cocoa powder will be packed with healthy chemicals. Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cacao tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants. Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease. Dark Chocolate Improves Memory, Reduces Stress. Researchers say eating dark chocolate can change your brain wave frequency, providing benefits in memory improvement and stress reduction. It’s well-known to most people with sweet tooth that dark chocolate can be a healthier indulgence.
Epidemiological studies suggest that cocoa-rich products reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Flavanols found in cocoa have been shown to increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide which promotes vasodilation and therefore blood pressure reduction.