Dry cocoa solids are the components of cocoa beans remaining after cocoa butter, the fat component, is extracted from chocolate liquor, roasted cocoa beans that have been ground into a liquid state. Cocoa butter is 50% to 57% of the weight of cocoa beans and gives chocolate its characteristic melting properties. Cocoa powder is the powdered form of the solids sold as an end product.
Many recipes for chocolate require the addition of extra cocoa butter to chocolate liquor, leading to a surplus of the remaining solids and thus a relatively cheap supply of cocoa powder. This contrasts with the earliest European usage of cocoa where, before milk and dark chocolate were popularized, cocoa powder was the primary product and cocoa butter was little more than a waste product.
Natural cocoa powder has a light brown color and an extractable pH of 5.3 to 5.8. The processed (alkalized) cocoa powder is darker in color, ranging from brownish red to nearly black, with a pH from 6.8 to 8.1. The alkalization process reduces bitterness and improves solubility, which is important for beverage product applications. All of these pH values are considered safe for food use.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||954 kJ (228 kcal)|
|†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 chocolate liquor. Cocoa powder also contains 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 also contains clovamide (N-caffeoyl-L-DOPA).
Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, a subset of polyphenols. The amount of flavonoids depends on the amount of processing and manufacturing the cocoa powder undergoes. Alkalization, also known as Dutch processing, causes its content of flavonoids to be substantially reduced.
Cocoa powders may contain cadmium, a toxic heavy metal and probable carcinogen. The European Union has imposed a limit (starting on 1 January 2019) for cadmium in cocoa powder of 0.6 µg per gram of cocoa powder, and 0.8 µg per gram for chocolate with ≥ 50% total dry cocoa solids. In Canada, a daily serving of a natural health product must contain no more than 6 µg of cadmium for an individual weighing 150 pounds (68 kg) and 3 µg for a 75 lb (34 kg) individual. While the U.S. government has not set a limit for cadmium in foods or health products, the state of California has established a maximum allowable daily level of oral cadmium exposure of 4.1 µg, and requires products containing more than this amount per daily serving to bear a warning on the label. One investigation by an independent consumer testing laboratory found that seven of nine commercially available cocoa powders and nibs selected for testing contained more than 0.3 µg of cadmium per serving gram; five of these products exceeded the proposed EU limit of 0.6 µg per gram.
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