Cocoa Powder - Drink Secrets

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa Powder


The name for the seed of the Cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) after it has been fully fermented is cocoa, the name cocoa is a derivative term of the word cacao. Cocoa has a lot of different uses, if the cocoa butter is separated from the dark and bitter cocoa solids and then grinded down into a fine powder, known as cocoa powder, it can be used to make hot chocolate.


The seeds, also known as cocoa beans, all grow in rough and leathery pods, all containing around 30 to 50 large, almost almond-looking, soft seeds with a purple or pink shade. Cacao trees, originating from South America, in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon and the Orinoco basins. They can still be found growing wildly, something which is believed to have been more common before the Spanish arrived, in the end of the 15th century, and started cultivating the area.


It is believed that the cacao tree, and therefore the cocoa bean, was introduced to central America by the ancient Maya people, however, the Olmecs of Mexico were the first who cultivated the plant in this area, later the Toltecs and after them the Aztecs learned how to do this as well. Nearly 70% of all the cacao crop in the world is grown in West Africa and the plant grows the best either 20 degrees north or south of the equator.


Not only humans consume cocoa, a lot of different animals is appealed by the taste of cocoa as well. However, since cocoa has high levels of theobromine and to a small extent caffeine it has serious health effects on some animals, such as dogs and cats. These health risks include cardiac and nervous system problems and can, if eaten by the animal too much, lead to death. Since the beginning of the 21st century, a few different kinds of cocoa derivatives has been invented with lower quantities of theobromine specialized for animals.


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