Tuesday, March 27, 2012


There are basically two different ways to get cocoa powder out of the beans. One, called "the Broma process," produces so-called "natural" cocoa. This is reddish-brown and very bitterly flavored. In my experience, most of the cocoa powder on the market is "natural."

The other process is called "the Dutch process," because it was invented by a Dutch chocolatier in the 19th century. It involves using an alkali to extract the chocolate. An alkali (also called a base) is the opposite of an acid -- it has a high pH instead of a low one. A very strong alkali with which you may be familiar is lye. A weaker alkali, that you use all of the time, is baking soda.

Cocoa produced with the Dutch process is called "Dutch-processed cocoa," or "cocoa processed with alkali." It is a darker brown in color, less reddish. Its taste is smoother and less bitter.


Cocoa beans processed with alkali loses the flavonoids and antioxidants found in raw cocoa nibs or very dark chocolate (think 85% cocoa).



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