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Cacao Powder: The History and Process Behind It

Did you know that cocoa powder is rich in carbohydrates, protein, fat as well as vitamin B? Just as much as we enjoy the variety of uses when it comes to cocoa powder in today’s world, the history and process behind it quiet equally fascinating. Cocoa is known to be a part of many cultures around the globe. Keep reading as we talk all about the backstory of cocoa powder and its manufacturing process in short.

A brief history of cocoa

Starting from the Amazon basin of South America and going all the way into the Olmec periods, traces of cocoa in pottery were found as evidence. The Olmec were considered to be one of the first people to consume cocoa as a drink with the help of crushed cocoa beans.

Being the initial people to cultivate it, the Aztecs and Mayans did so in the later years.  During the periods of such civilization, cocoa was a symbol of abundance and made us of during religious rituals. The cocoa drinks were greatly used amongst upper class people and the soldiers during battle.

Spreading rapidly amongst many civilizations, it was in the 16th century that the commercialization of coca began. Although Christopher Columbus did not understand nor recognize cocoa’s true value, Hernando Cortez did.

Understanding that the Aztecs used coca as the currency, he established a cocoa plantation himself. After the downfall of Aztecs against the Spanish Empire, the cocoa drink, then known as xocolatl and changed in chocolate by the Spanish, became popular. They went on to add things such as vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. to make the drink more interesting.

While in the very beginning xocolatl was a drink made crushed coca and simply water, it English who added milk to it. It was during the 1800s that the innovation of chocolate grew massively. Starting from making cocoa powder by separating the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids to making the first chocolate bars that was fit for mass production to much more, cocoa powder became of great use. Now organic cacao powder is experimented with a massive variety of flavours and is an ingredient used in various eatables.

The step-by-step process of cocoa

Cocoa beans are a natural product of the cocoa trees. Once plucked from a cocoa tree cultivated land, the beans are sent on to the factories. The beans are first washed and cleaned of dirt and debris before moving further into the process. It is alongside this process that the shells of the cocoa beans are removed.

Moving on from the harvesting and cleaning process, the cocoa beans are then fermented by developing them into two different parts in order to get a good chocolate flavour. Having done that, the cocoa beans are then later dried and roasted. After drying and roasting the cocoa beans, they are winnowed, alkalized and grounded. It is during the grounding process that cocoa is then processed into cocoa powder.

Although mentioned in simple steps, each process is much more detailed than you think!

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