Coenraad Johannes van Houten

Coenraad Johannes van Houten

Coenraad Johannes van Houten (March 15, 1801, Amsterdam - 1887, Weesp) was a Dutch chemist and chocolate maker known for the treatment of cocoa mass with alkaline salts to remove the bitter taste and make cocoa solids more water-soluble; the resulting product is still called "Dutch process" chocolate. He is also, incorrectly, credited with introducing a method for pressing the fat (cocoa butter) from roasted cocoa beans, which was in fact his father's invention.[1]

Contents

Father and son van Houten

Coenraad van Houten was the son of Casparus van Houten (1770-1858) and Arnoldina Koster. His father opened a chocolate factory in Amsterdam in 1815, with a mill turned by laborers. At that time, cocoa beans were ground into a fine mass, which could then be mixed with milk to create a chocolate drink or, with addition of sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, made into cookies. However, the high fat content (over 50%) made the chocolate very hard to digest.[citation needed]

Cocoa press

In 1828 Casparus van Houten Sr. (and not his son, who is usually credited)[1] patented an inexpensive method for pressing the fat from roasted cocoa beans. The center of the bean, known as the "nib," contains an average of 54 percent cocoa butter, which is a natural fat. Van Houten's machine - a hydraulic press - reduced the cocoa butter content by nearly half. This created a "cake" that could be pulverized into cocoa powder, which was to become the basis of all chocolate products.

The introduction of cocoa powder not only made creating chocolate drinks much easier, but also made it possible to combine chocolate with sugar and then remix it with cocoa butter to create a solid, already closely resembling today's eating chocolate.

In 1838 the patent expired, enabling others to produce cocoa powder and build on Van Houten's success, experimenting to make new chocolate products. In 1847 English chocolate maker J. S. Fry & Sons produced arguably the first chocolate bar. Later developments were in Switzerland, where Daniel Peter introduced milk chocolate in 1875 and Rodolphe Lindt made chocolate more blendable by the process of conching in 1879.

Dutch process chocolate

Coenraad Van Houten introduced a further improvement by treating the powder with alkaline salts (potassium or sodium carbonates) so that the powder would mix more easily with water. Today, this process is known as "Dutching". The final product, Dutch chocolate, has a dark color and a mild taste.[2]

Later career

In 1835 Coenraad van Houten married Hermina van Houten (unrelated) from Groningen. In 1850 he moved his production from a windmill in Leiden to a steam factory in Weesp. By that time he was exporting chocolate to England, France, and Germany. In 1866 John Cadbury traveled to Weesp to buy a Van Houten press, but didn't use it in his manufacturing until 1875.

Coenraad’s son Casparus (c.1844-1901), employed since 1865, had a gift for marketing and contributed greatly to the growth of the company. Advertisements for Van Houten could be found on trams throughout Europe and the United States. As early as 1899 Van Houten produced a commercial film that depicted a sleepy clerk who recovers miraculously after eating some chocolate.[3] The factory was a boost for the town of Weesp, whose population doubled in the second half of the 19th century. Casparus Jr. had himself built a 99-room Jugendstil villa in Weesp, by the renowned architect A. Salm (1857-1915).[4] Work was started in 1897 but not completed until 1901, the year he died.[5]

The Van Houten company was sold in 1962 to W.R. Grace, and the factories in Weesp closed in 1971. The Van Houten brand name, still in use, has been transferred several times since, in 1990 from the German chocolate manufacturer Jacobs Suchard to Philip Morris. The brand is currently part of the Barry Callebaut chocolate manufacturing company.

The legacy of Dutch process cocoa

Dutch process cocoa is generally acknowledged as superior to cocoa not processed in this way.[6] The combination of the inventions by father and son van Houten led to the nineteenth-century mass production and consumption of chocolate, or, as some call it, the "democratization" of chocolate.[7]

References

External links



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  • Coenraad Johannes Van Houten — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Van Houten. Coenraad Johannes van Houten (né à Amsterdam en 1801 décédé à Weesp en 1887) était un chimiste néerlandais, fabricant de chocolat. En 1828, il fait breveter une méthode économique pour presser la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Coenraad johannes van houten — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Van Houten. Coenraad Johannes van Houten (né à Amsterdam en 1801 décédé à Weesp en 1887) était un chimiste néerlandais, fabricant de chocolat. En 1828, il fait breveter une méthode économique pour presser la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Coenraad Johannes van Houten — Poster ilustrativo de la compañía chocolatera Van Houten. Artista Johann Georg van Caspel Coenraad Johannes van Houten (15 de marzo de 1801, Ámsterdam; 1887, Weesp) fue un químico y empresario chocolatero reconocido por haber sido el primero en… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Coenraad Johannes van Houten — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Van Houten. Coenraad Johannes van Houten (né à Amsterdam en 1801 décédé à Weesp en 1887) était un chimiste néerlandais, fabricant de chocolat. En 1828, il fait breveter une méthode économique pour presser la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Coenraad J. van Houten — Coenraad Johannes van Houten (* 15. März 1801; † 1887 in Weesp) war ein niederländischer Apotheker und Chemiker. Er gilt als Erfinder des Kakaopulvers, das er durch ein neues Verfahren zur Entölung der Kakaobohnen entwickelte. Mit Hilfe einer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Conrad Johannes van Houten — Coenraad Johannes van Houten (* 15. März 1801; † 1887 in Weesp) war ein niederländischer Apotheker und Chemiker. Er gilt als Erfinder des Kakaopulvers, das er durch ein neues Verfahren zur Entölung der Kakaobohnen entwickelte. Mit Hilfe einer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Van houten — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Van Houten est un patronyme principalement néerlandais. En 1815, le Néerlandais Van Houten fonde la première usine de chocolat, (voir Van Houten… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Van Houten — may refer to: * Carice van Houten, a Dutch actress * Coenraad Johannes van Houten, a Dutch chocolate maker * Cornelis Johannes van Houten, a Dutch astronomer * Leslie Van Houten, a former member of Charles Manson s crime family * Milhouse Van… …   Wikipedia

  • Van houten (chocolat) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Van Houten. Logo de Van Houten Van Houten est une marque de chocolat en poudre sans sucre ajouté …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Van Houten — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Van Houten est un patronyme principalement néerlandais. Van Houten, première usine de chocolat fondée en 1815 par le Néerlandais Van Houten Carice Anouk… …   Wikipédia en Français

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