Cocoa butter is the natural fat contained in a cocoa bean. It is a vegan product. It is primarily used in the confectionery and the beauty industry. In this article, we explore how cocoa butter is made, what all uses it can be put to and how can one buy cocoa butter.

How is cocoa butter made?

Natural or pure cocoa butter is made from cocoa beans which come from cocoa pods that grow on cocoa trees. Four countries of West Africa – Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria together produce around 80% of world’s cocoa beans. A majority of these cocoa beans are exported to Europe and North America where they are ground to make cocoa intermediate products – cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Though, over the past few years, an increasing amount of cocoa beans are being ground in these four origin countries.

Once dried and fermented cocoa beans reach the cocoa grinding factory, they are roasted and shelled. This produces cocoa nibs which is pulverised into a thick paste. This is called cocoa liquor. Cocoa liquor looks like molten chocolate, is bitter and is the purest form of chocolate.

Cocoa liquor contains is about 50% fat. This fat is pressed in presses and it yields cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is a cream colour mixture of saturated fats.

Cocoa pods on a cocoa tree
Cocoa pods on a cocoa tree

How is cocoa butter used?

The biggest use of cocoa butter is in making chocolates. Cocoa butter is solid at room temperature but melts between 32 -37 degrees Celsius (90-99 degree Fahrenheit). It is this property of cocoa butter (melting just under human body temperature) that is used in chocolates to give it a “melt in the mouth” feel.

Cocoa butter is an expensive fat. In countries where the chocolate consumers are more cost conscious, chocolate manufacturers tend to replace a part or all of cocoa butter in chocolates with less expensive vegetable fats.

Another use of cocoa butter is in the beauty industry. It is high in anti-oxidants. Cocoa butter is used in making moisturizing and anti-ageing products.

 

How can I buy cocoa butter?

The answer to this question depends on how much cocoa butter you are looking to buy. If you are a chocolate maker and are looking for a regular supply of a particular quality of cocoa butter, you can look for cocoa butter suppliers on findcocoa.com – the biggest directory of the cocoa and chocolate industry.

A slab of cocoa butter
A slab of cocoa butter

If you want to buy cocoa butter for chocolate making, you need to be careful about its different quality parameters. The primary quality parameters for cocoa butter are its colour, its melting curve and the amount of free fatty acids (FFA) present in the cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter comes as an ingredient to many cosmetics. But if you want to buy pure (raw) cocoa butter for cosmetic or culinary purposes in limited quantity (a few hundred grams to a few kilograms), you should look up for cocoa butter suppliers on the internet. You will be able to find sellers in limited quantities on websites like Amazon who can also ensure home delivery of the product.

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