Cocoa solids

Cocoa solids
A bowl of cocoa powder

Cocoa solids are the low-fat component of chocolate. When sold as an end product, it may also be called cocoa powder, cocoa, and cacao. In contrast, the fatty component of chocolate is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter makes up for 50% to 57% of the weight of cocoa beans and gives chocolate its characteristic melting properties.[1] Cocoa liquor is the melted combination of cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Cocoa solids are obtained by extraction from the cocoa bean.



Cocoa powder is extracted from roasted, cleaned, deshelled cocoa beans and grinded into a paste, called chocolate liquor. Pressing and milling the pressed chocolate liquor separates the cocoa powder from the fat.[2] This may be accomplished by a press, or by the Broma process. The resulting cocoa powder can be further processed with a hydroxide or carbonate of sodium of potassium.[3] Natural process cocoa powder (not processed) has a tart, bitter taste and is light in color. Processed cocoa powders are deeper in color and richer in flavour. Alkalization reduces the sour, bitter properties of natural cocoa powder improving the taste. Alkalization can also alter the solubility of the cocoa powder.[4] Dutch process chocolate has been treated so as to neutralize the acidity and has a milder flavor; it is also the traditional chocolate brown in color.[5]

Physical Properties

Cocoa solids can range from a light brown to a deep reddish brown color. The varying color corresponds to the pH value of the Cocoa. Safe, acceptable pH for cocoa ranges from 5.4 to 8.1 depending on how processed the cocoa powder is. Cocoa with a pH of 5.4-5.8 are considered natural powders and have a light brown color. Lightly alkalized cocoa solids have a pH of 6.8-7.2 and are a darker brown color. Moderately alkalized cocoa solids have a pH of 7.2-7.5 and have a deep reddish brown color, and heavily alkalized powders with a pH of 7.5-8.1 have dark red and black colors.[6]


Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 954 kJ (228 kcal)
Carbohydrates 57.90 g
Fat 13.70 g
Protein 19.60 g
Water 3.00 g
Calcium 128 mg (13%)
Iron 13.86 mg (107%)
Magnesium 499 mg (141%)
Manganese 3.837 mg (183%)
Phosphorus 734 mg (105%)
Potassium 1524 mg (32%)
Sodium 21 mg (1%)
Zinc 6.81 mg (72%)
Percentages are relative to 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 cocoa liquor.[7] Cocoa solids also contain 230mg of caffeine and 2057mg of theobromine, which are mostly absent from the other components of the cocoa bean.[8]


Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, a type of polyphenolic. The amount of flavonoids depends on the amount of processing and manufacturing the cocoa powder undergoes, but cocoa powder can contain up to 10% its weight in flavonoids.[7] Flavanols are one of six compounds futher classified as flavenoids. Flavanols, which are also found in fruits and vegetables, are linked to certain health benefits linked to coronary heart disease and stroke. The topic of how flavanols benefit cardiovascular health is still under debate. It has been suggested that the flavanols may take part in mechanisms such as nitric oxide and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiplatelet effects.[9] Benefiting these mechanisms may improve endothelial function, lipid levels, blood pressure and insulin resistance.[9]

Accordingly, health professionals recommend consuming chocolate in forms that are high in cocoa solids while low in cocoa butter, such as hot cocoa.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Steinberg, F.M.; Bearden, M.N., Keen, C.L. (February 2003). "Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: Implications for cardiovascular health". Journal of the American Dietetic Association 103 (2): 215–223. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ Kattenberg, H.R. (1987). U.S. Patent No.4704292. Washington, D.C: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 
  3. ^ Kattenberg, H.R. (1987). U.S. Patent No.4704292. Washington, D.C: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 
  4. ^ "Understanding Chocolate". Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Marble Cake", Food Network
  6. ^ "Understanding Chocolate". Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Steinberg, F.M.; Bearden, M.M., Keen, C.L. (February 2003). Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: Implications for cardiovascular health. 103. pp. 215–223. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, (2011)". 
  9. ^ a b Corti, R.; Flammer, A.J., Hollenberg, N.K. (2009). "Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health". Circulation. Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine 119: 1433–1441. doi:10.1161/​CIRCULATIONAHA.108.827022. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Hot Cocoa Tops Red Wine And Tea In Antioxidants; May Be Healthier Choice", Science Daily, November 6, 2003, .

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