What is Cocoa Butter?

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Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is a major ingredient in chocolates. Many people also refer to it theobroma oil, a pale-yellow fat extracted from the cacao fruit or cocoa bean. Because of its high stability, it is also used in making pharmaceutical products and cosmetics. Cacao trees are common in South America, which origins can be traced in the foothills of the Amazon forest.

Cocoa butter is scientifically proven to be rich in anti-oxidants, which help fight skin aging and wade off free radicals. Different moisturizing products like lotions and ointments mainly contain cocoa butter because of its first-rate fatty acids that hydrates the skin deeply. Cocoa butter is also used in body scrub products and baby baths.

To obtain cocoa butter, the cocoa beans are fermented which allows it to develop chocolate flavor. The seeds are then dried up and roasted to enhance its flavor and alter its color. The last process involves shell removal of the seeds to get it ready for the alkalizing process. The type of cocoa butter used to make cosmetics is refined, a process by which the cocoa is stripped from its scent and color. The unrefined cocoa butter is its raw form, commonly used in chocolates. Unrefined cocoa butter has more nutrients compared to the former. Since it has not undergone any process, it smells good and tastes better.

There are many other ways of making cocoa butter such as using pure press, expeller press, and solvent extraction process. In pure press, the cocoa mass is crushed using horizontal presses. Expeller press is commonly use for sub-standard cocoa beans, wherein the latter is squeezed under a high pressure expeller until fatty oils start to come out. The solvent extraction process usually comes after the expeller process. It is used to further extract fats from the cake residue left after the cocoa bean undergoes friction in the expeller press.

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