There are four (4) by-products in the cocoa ingredient family:
1 – Cocoa Nibs
2 – Cocoa Butter
3 – Cocoa Liquor
4 – Cocoa Powder
Cocoa Nibs. Cocoa Nibs have many uses within several industries; from confectionery to food, beverage and nutraceutical. After beans or fermented and sun dried or just sun dried, they go through sorting and cleaning. The dried beans are cracked and a stream of air separates the shell from the nib, the small pieces used to make chocolate. The nibs are roasted in special ovens at controlled temperatures depending on the desired type of flavor and product. During roasting, the cocoa nibs darken to a rich, brown color and acquire their characteristic chocolate flavor and aroma. The flavor development of nibs starts at the bean fermentation process. The flavor characteristics of fermented cocoa nibs are different from non-fermented and raw cocoa nibs. Certain unique nibs processing methods allows companies to output nibs at different temperatures, from low to standard.
Cocoa Butter. Natural Cocoa Butter is obtained from whole cacao beans, which are fermented, roasted, and then separated from their hulls. About 45 – 47% of the residue is cocoa butter. Chocolate liquor is pressed to separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids. The broma process is used to extract cocoa butter from ground cacao beans. Cocoa butter is usually deodorized to remove its strong and undesirable taste. Cocoa butter is an essential ingredient in chocolate. It is extracted from a portion of cocoa beans and mixed together with another portion of cocoa beans along with sugar to make chocolate. It makes the chocolate creamy and mouth melting. The cocoa butter press and was invented by Coenraad Van Houton in Holland in 1828 but simple, small cocoa butter presses are no longer manufactured. Cocoa nibs are ground in stone mills until the friction and heat of the milling reduces them to a thick chocolate-colored liquid, known as ‘mass.’ It contains 45-48% cocoa butter and solidifies on cooling. The cocoa mass is pressed in powerful machines to extract the cocoa butter, vital to making chocolate. The solid blocks of compressed cocoa remaining after extraction are pulverized into a fine powder to produce a high-grade cocoa powder for use as a beverage or in cooking.
Cocoa Liquor. Cocoa Liquor is produced from both fermented and non-fermented cocoa beans. Most cocoa liquor comes in one pound bars and 55 (25 kilo) blocks. A 1 pound bar is suitable for R&D and processes that call for smaller quantities, where 55 pound blocks are used with standard processing machines. Cocoa liquor is produced when the cocoa beans are ground into a paste. The term “cocoa liquor” is used to describe finely ground cocoa beans. During grinding, the mill gets hot and the ground cocoa beans become very fine in particle size and the cocoa butter becomes liquid; in short the finely ground cocoa beans are liquid when they exit the mill. When Cocoa Liquor is cooled and becomes solid, it is the same as unsweetened baking chocolate. This should not be confused with chocolate liqueur which is an alcoholic beverage. Cocoa Liquor has no alcoholic content. Cocoa Liquor is one of the key components of chocolate. The most Cocoa Liquor is contained in dark chocolate with high content of cocoa products. It is produced from cocoa beans that have been fermented, dried, roasted, and separated from their skins. The beans are ground into cocoa mass (cocoa paste). The mass is commonly melted to become the liquor, and the liquor is cooled and molded into blocks known as unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate). Most companies offer many choices of Cocoa Liquor, with variations in roasting conditions and post-roast treatment conditions, from fermented and non-fermented cocoa beans. Many companies unique origination and processing capabilities are focused on preserving the delicate and complex properties of cocoa to ensure that our customers can convert it into consistently high quality chocolate.
Cocoa Powder. Most processing facilities are producing natural cocoa powder 10% – 12%. Cocoa or cacao powder is produced by pressing the ground-up cocoa nibs, removing a significant proportion of the fat or cocoa butter, leaving a residue called cocoa powder. Cocoa powder contains several minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. All of these minerals are found in greater quantities in cocoa powder than either cocoa butter or cocoa liquor. Cocoa solids also contain 230 mg of caffeine and 2057 mg of theobromine per 100g, which are mostly absent from the other components of the cocoa bean. The solid blocks of compressed cocoa remaining after extraction (press-cake) are pulverized into a fine powder to produce a high-grade cocoa powder for use as a beverage or in cooking.
Cocoa Farms. Most cocoa is grown organically and under a canopy of shade trees. Many companies use sustainable methods such as composting and typically grow a diversity of other food crops among cocoa. These ecological methods have helped the community and the natural environment in many ways. Organic production keeps the river water pesticide-free. The preserved shade canopy makes the area a good carbon sink and supports a wide variety of natural species. Most companies grow their cocoa totally naturally without the use of any chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers and have been Certified Organic. Cocoa producers operate their own cocoa drying and fermentation facilities, which assures producers to maintain the highest levels of quality with drying the beans and also fermenting per clients’ specifications.
Cocoa Tree Types
There are three general categories of cocoa varieties:
a – Forasteros
b – Criollos
c – Trinitarios
The Forasteros and Criollos are the original types while the Trinitarios were created when the two crossed accidentally in Trinidad. Because the Forasteros are generally heartier and less disease prone than the Criollos and the Trinitarios, they were chosen to introduce in equatorial Africa, who became the world’s main producer. Forastero cocoa beans have a plain and basic chocolate flavor, known as “bulk” cocoa while Trinitario and Criollo cocoa beans have more complex flavor, known as “fine-flavored” cocoa. Trinitarios developed to be heartier than the Criollos but also retain their special flavor qualities. Criollo and Trinitario cocoa beans now represent less than 10% of the world’s cocoa. The straight-forward chocolate flavor and low price associated with the Forasteros is preferred by milk chocolate makers. The Criollos and Trinitarios contain extra flavors, embellishing their extra strong chocolate flavor and making them preferable for dark chocolate.
Cooperative Cocoa Farms. Cocoa Family Farms Cooperative benefits both individual farmers and the long-term supply of everyone’s beloved chocolate. Cocoa Family helps farms to gain higher yield by supporting with training methods and programs, which result in higher output per acres, improve living conditions, and help farmers increase the quality of their cocoa. A-well organized cooperative helps farmers within many areas. They can grow a diversity of other food crops among their cocoa, keep the river water pesticide-free. It also provides food for farmers and also a source of extra income. Cooperative is a must to a successful cocoa farming. It provides farmers with resources and secures the sale of their crop at good prices, provides services to its members, such as training, equipment, etc. It also helps to establish governance structure and processes that empower local communities. Cocoa Family Farms Cooperative aims to improve the standard of living of our their member families, use agricultural methods, increase quality, and diversify both agricultural and industrial production. We are constantly working to increase organic yield by expanding our membership and technical training and also looking for additional buyers. Our cooperative constantly assists farmers with rebuilding their farms, implementing better agricultural methods and paying premium for their crops. We have brought new system and security to farmers who were thrown from one middleman buyer to another, where they used to receive unfairly low prices for their cocoa because of selling to middleman companies.
Cocoa Processing. Processing facilities produce the main cocoa products or ingredients: cocoa powder, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor and cocoa nibs. On arrival at most factories, the cocoa beans are sorted and cleaned.
Winnowing = The dried beans are cracked and a stream of air separates the shell from the nib, the small pieces used to make chocolate.
Roasting = The nibs are roasted in special ovens at controlled temperatures depending on the desired type of flavor and product. During roasting, the cocoa nibs darken to a rich, brown color and acquire their characteristic chocolate flavor and aroma. This flavor however, actually starts to develop during fermentation.
Grinding = The roasted nibs are ground in stone mills until the friction and heat of the milling reduces them to a thick chocolate-colored liquid, known as ‘mass.’ It contains 45-48% cocoa butter and solidifies on cooling.
Pressing = The cocoa mass is pressed in powerful machines to extract the cocoa butter, vital to making chocolate. The solid blocks of compressed cocoa remaining after extraction (press-cake) are pulverized into a fine powder to produce a high-grade cocoa powder for use as a beverage or in cooking.