Creation of Cocoa

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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One of the inherent problems with regularly drinking chocolate was the high cocoa butter content of the cacao beans that, when overconsumed, resulted in excessive weight gain and digestion issues. To reduce the cocoa butter content of the chocolate drink, various processes were developed to extract and separate the cocoa butter from the cacao solids. Cocoa butter was a by-product of these processes and found utility elsewhere as a fat in other foods or in cosmetics. Coenraad van Houten, an early-nineteenth-century chocolate maker from Amsterdam, developed an industrial-scale cocoa press to extract butter from the chocolate liquor. See van houten, coenraad johannes. It took many years for the butter press to become a standard process in the chocolate industry. By the 1860s, the Englishman George Cadbury, searching for a way to differentiate his chocolate from the competition, added cocoa presses from van Houten. See cadbury. The resulting product, named Cadbury’s Cocoa Essence, was the first reduced-fat cocoa powder available in England at the time, and it launched the long-term success of the Cadbury business. By the end of the 1800s, the pressing process was commonplace throughout the industry.