Theobroma cacao L.
Family: Malvaceae or cotton family
The major producers of cocoa are: Ivory Coast; Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia and Cameroon.
Cocoa (cacao) is a concentrated powder extracted from the beans (seeds, nibs) of the cocoa fruit. The beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and separated from their skins. They are ground into a mass which is melted to form a mixture called cocoa or chocolate liqueur. This mixture contains, roughly, equal portions of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
The cocoa liqueur is pressed to remove cocoa butter and the resulting cocoa solids are pulverized to form cocoa powder. Cocoa liqueur contains roughly 53% cocoa butter (fat), about 17% carbohydrates, 11% protein, 6% tannins, and 1.5% theobromine.
Natural cocoa powder tastes very bitter. It has a light brown colour and is acidic, with a pH level of 5.1 to 5.4. It contains several minerals: calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. It also contains caffeine and theobromine and about 22% fat.
- Cocoa powder is a key ingredient of chocolate, chocolate syrup, and chocolate confections.
- Cocoa powder provides the drink hot cocoa which is usually made of cocoa, sugar and boiling milk or water.
- Cocoa is used to provide a chocolate flavour in baked goods, icings and puddings.
- It’s also mixed with sugar and vegetable fat to make ‘chocolate-flavoured coating used for coating cakes and biscuits.
- Cocoa powder can mixed with sugar, powdered milk and cocoa butter to make instant drinking chocolate.