Cocoa Powder

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Manufacturers produce cocoa powder from the cakes of roasted cocoa bean particles left behind when they extract cocoa butter. The particles remain coated with a thin layer of cocoa butter; the fat content of the powder ranges from 8 to 26%. The solid particles of the cacao bean are the source of chocolate’s flavor and color. Cocoa is therefore the most concentrated version of chocolate, and a valuable ingredient in its own right. Natural cocoa powder has a strong chocolate taste and pronounced astringency and bitterness. It’s also distinctly acid, with a pH around 5.