Cocoa solids are a mixture of many substances remaining after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans. When sold as an end product, it may also be called cocoa powder, cocoa, and cacao. In contrast, the fatty component of chocolate is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is 50% to 57% of the weight of cocoa beans and gives chocolate its characteristic melting properties. Cocoa liquor or cocoa mass is a paste of roasted cocoa beans with cocoa butter and solids in their natural proportions. Chocolate requires the addition of extra cocoa butter to cocoa liquor, and the excess cocoa solids resulting from the chocolate industry dictate the relatively cheap supply of cocoa powder. This contrasts with the earliest European usage of cocoa where, before chocolate was popularized, cocoa powder was the primary product and cocoa butter was little more than a waste product.
Physical properties 
Cocoa solids can range from a light brown to a deep reddish brown color. The varying color corresponds to the pH value of the cocoa. Safe, acceptable pH for cocoa ranges from 5.4 to 8.1 depending on how processed the cocoa powder is. Cocoa with a pH of 5.4–5.8 are considered natural powders and have a light brown color. Lightly alkalized cocoa solids have a pH of 6.8–7.2 and are a darker brown color. Moderately alkalized cocoa solids have a pH of 7.2–7.5 and have a deep reddish brown color, and heavily alkalized powders with a pH of 7.5–8.1 have dark red and black colors.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||954 kJ (228 kcal)|
|Calcium||128 mg (13%)|
|Iron||13.86 mg (107%)|
|Magnesium||499 mg (141%)|
|Manganese||3.837 mg (183%)|
|Phosphorus||734 mg (105%)|
|Potassium||1524 mg (32%)|
|Sodium||21 mg (1%)|
|Zinc||6.81 mg (72%)|
|Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Cocoa powder contains several minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. All of these minerals are found in greater quantities in cocoa powder than either cocoa butter or cocoa liquor. Cocoa solids also contain 230 mg of caffeine and 2057 mg of theobromine per 100g, which are mostly absent from the other components of the cocoa bean.
Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, a type of phenolic acid. The amount of flavonoids depends on the amount of processing and manufacturing the cocoa powder undergoes, but cocoa powder can contain up to 10% its weight in flavonoids. Flavanols are one of six compounds further classified as flavonoids. Flavanols, which are also found in fruits and vegetables, are linked to certain health benefits linked to coronary heart disease and stroke. The topic of how flavanols benefit cardiovascular health is still under debate. It has been suggested that the flavanols may take part in mechanisms such as nitric oxide and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiplatelet effects. Benefiting these mechanisms may improve endothelial function, lipid levels, blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
- Steinberg, F.M.; Bearden, M.N., Keen, C.L. (February 2003). "Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: Implications for cardiovascular health". Journal of the American Dietetic Association 103 (2): 215–223. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "Understanding Chocolate". Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Steinberg, F.M.; Bearden, M.M., Keen, C.L. (February 2003). Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: Implications for cardiovascular health 103 (2). pp. 215–223. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, (2011)".
- Corti, R.; Flammer, A.J., Hollenberg, N.K. (2009). "Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health". Circulation. Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine 119: 1433–1441. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.827022. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
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