Cocoa, which is generally associated with chocolate, is actually an incredibly versatile bean. Its history has shown us that it can stand the test of time and it has certainly adapted to each era. Right now, these following methods are how cocoa beans are being put to good use in our products.
Cocoa powder which is made through a process of drying the roasted and fermented cocoa beans, separating the butter from the solids and then ground into a fine powder is used in a number of foods. Baking chocolate cakes and chocolate desserts almost always call for a good quality cocoa. Also, many hot chocolate fans prefer the taste of cocoa to store-bought hot chocolate.
This luxuriously thick butter has a delicious and distinct smell and is used in a number of beauty products. It’s widely known for its wonderful moisturizing effects. It’s also used in the production of chocolate – particularly white chocolate.
Another ingredient (actually, the main ingredient) used in the making of chocolate. While it may sound a little like the alcoholic beverage (chocolate liqueur), it actually contains no alcohol. Cocoa Liquor is solid and unsweetened baking chocolate that is used as a base for making chocolate and other sweet chocolaty treats.
One of the more unexpected uses of the cocoa bean is its use for animal feed. Actually, it’s the husk of the cocoa pod that is sliced into flakes which are then minced and formed into pellets, to be dried and served as delicious animal feed.
The cocoa bean shell can be an effective and nourishing fertiliser. Cocoa bean mulch is a great alternative to mulch made from other ingredients as it has a slightly better odor and it also has a beautiful rich brown color which spruces up a withered and weathered garden.
It’s been said that cocoa shell mulch reduces water loss, slows down the growth of weeds and nourishes the soil beneath it all in one. Using cocoa mulch also puts to good use a part of the cocoa pod that would have probably just become landfill.
Cocoa pod husk ash
The cocoa husk is dried in the open over a few weeks and then burned to produce the ash which then becomes an ingredient in soap making. Many natural beauty advocates will use this ash in their soap and cocoa butter in their moisturizing creams.
While we’re almost positive that as time goes by, more innovative and exciting ways to use the cocoa bean will arise. For now we’re quite happy that just about every part of this versatile pod is being put to excellent use.
The cocoa bean, which has literally travelled from one landmass to another, has seen civilisations rise and fall and it has maintained its importance in society through each new era. As chocolatiers, we can’t quite imagine life without the cocoa bean – so many things would change, so many things in life would be far less sweet.