Cocoa powder is used for making chocolate & chocolate flavoured products, baked goods and many other delicious treats. It is what lends chocolate the taste, while cocoa butter gives it the texture.
Cocoa is one of the richest sources of flavanol antioxidants and is a natural source of caffeine. It contains serval beneficial minerals such as iron and magnesium. Cocoa is also known for its antidepressant effect as well as for lowering blood pressure, improving endothelial & vascular function, and insulin sensitivity. Further epidemiological studies have shown a correlation between the consumption of cocoa and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cocoa is often added to cosmetics to achieve a chocolaty scent and colour providing coverage for blemishes and imperfections. It is also known for its antioxidant properties making skin soft.
Cocoa Powder is extracted from hand selected Cocoa Beans. Unprocessed cocoa powder has a light brown colour and a pH level of 5.1. to 5.4 this increases to 6.8 to 8.1 when it is alkalized. It also becomes a darker brown colour which ranges from brownish red to nearly black. Alkalized cocoa powder is less bitter and more soluble. When natural cocoa (an acid) is combined with an alkali, it creates a leavening reaction.
Cocoa powder dates back to The Olmecs (1500-400 BC) who were said to drink crushed cocoa beans with a mixture of spices. The Mayans (600 BC) and Aztecs (400 AD) developed successful methods for cultivating cocoa. Cocoa was a symbol of abundance. In 1502, cocoa was introduced to Columbus and from there, it continued to make its’ way across the world.