Raw cocoa -
Cocoa – what is it really? Where does it come from?
Cocoa powder is extracted from the seeds found inside the pods of the cacao tree. The seeds are called “cocoa” and the name comes from the Mayan language that reached Spanish by way of Aztec. The Maya discovered the cacao tree as an economically useful plant in Central America around 1500 B.C. The Aztecs already knew cocoa by the 13th century and they regarded it as a “gift of the gods”.
For the Aztecs, cocoa was always more than food: An indulgence, a valuable cosmetic and even stable currency. In the 15th century, Spaniards brought cocoa to the European royal houses. From there, it started its triumphant progress as an “exotic” foodstuff and drink to be indulged in.
As the drink became increasingly popular in Europe, the tree was cultivated on an industrial scale in the European colonies of Central America and the Caribbean during the 17th and 18th century. Cocoa cultivation also started in Africa in the 19th and 20th century. Nowadays, the Ivory Coast has the largest cacao tree plantations.
Cacao trees can reach a height of 15 meters, but owing to their economic usefulness they are pruned to at least 5 meters for better harvesting. The fruit (pod) of the cacao tree weighs about 500 grams and contains up to 50 cocoa beans in addition to the fruit flesh, the main component.
Untreated cocoa beans contain a high proportion of bitter substances that cannot
yet be compared to chocolate. To reduce the quantity of these bitter substances,
the first processing step is carried out, namely the so-
Once the fruit of the cacao tree is opened, it starts fermenting very quickly. The
Linen bags are filled with the dried cocoa beans and shipped to the cocoa-
For a long time, cocoa and chocolate products were semi-