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thegreatdane

Raw cocoa powder -

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I've heard of someone making raw chocolate by combining "raw cocoa powder" with cocoa butter and agave nectar. Of course it doesn't temper or snap, due to the agave nectar. But I'm interested in whether it can actually be considered raw.

Is there such a thing as "raw cocoa powder"? I thought to make cocoa powder it was pressed under great weight, which would translate to higher temps than is considered raw. Is that correct?

Thoughts, anyone?

Thanks,

Tom

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Without knowing more about the source I'd assume they meant the non-Dutched stuff.

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Both Cocoa butter and Cocoa powder come from roasted beans. There's no way that anything chocolate can fit onto a raw food diet. Nor could coffee, either. Green cacao beans and green coffee beans are nothing at all like the products they produce after roasting.

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Yeah I have seen a few people look into raw cacoa products but I just don't see it. First it must be fermented which brings up the temp(but not sure if it is over the limit). Then it must be roasted which brings it way over the "Raw" standards...so this one is tuff. We would really have to see the procedures. If they didn't Ferment and didn't roast the beans then it isn't even going to taste like chocolate anyway.

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Also, I don't think raw beans could be powdered. They've got to sit in the roaster for a certain time/temp so that the cell structure starts to break down.

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I was shopping in Whole Foods (NJ) on Sunday morning, and I noticed a bag of what was called "Raw Chocolate Powder". It was in and among the "raw" ingredients. I was rushing home to make Sunday dinner so I didn't have a chance to study the package. I'll be back there today and take a closer look. At a raw food presentation that I attended last year, they mentioned that the food can be "warmed" to a certain degree - maybe somewhere around 110-115 degrees - and still considered raw. Do you think that the key is that they call it raw chocolate powder rather than raw cocoa powder?

Marie

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I just looked that product up and it would seem that they don't Roast their beans. This will leave a flavor that is not a great chocolate flavor as we know it but should contain some chocolate flavor....I would be eager to try it to see if their was any taste or if it was just for health...

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Somebody here must be very familiar with unroasted cacao nibs, right? Is it even remotely possible that cocoa butter and cocoa can be pressed out of them without roasting first?

I'm much more familiar with green coffee, and there is no way in the world that anything vaguely coffee-like at all could be made from unroasted green coffee.

Are cacao nibs dark roasty black straight out of the pod? I'd be quite surprised if they are...

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Are cacao nibs dark roasty black straight out of the pod? I'd be quite surprised if they are...

No they aren't.

After removal from the pod the seeds are coated with a pulp that first must be removed. They are also not brown or crisp at all, and don't taste like chocolate in the very least.

To remove the pulp, change the color, texture, and flavor, they must be fermented/cured, and then dried properly. At that point (after the fermentation and drying to between 6 and 8% moisture) they can look similar to roasted beans, but despite the fact that, as Robert mentioned, they can, as fermented beans, have a slight chocolate flavor, they will not have developed a flavor or aroma reminiscent of the roasted product, and the bitterness and astringency, even acridity, will still be relatively high.

Another thing that some of these "raw" companies may be overlooking (note: I don't have any one in particular in mind when I say this), or are not coming out and saying, is that the enzymes are inactivated during fermentation and drying, and that the polyphenols are greatly reduced. Additionally, the temperature of the fermenting mass can easily rise to between 112 and 122 F, and during drying, depending upon the technique (i.e., mechanical or sun-based), and care taken, the temperature can even rise to between 130 and 140 F.

I am not a raw foods expert in the least, but that doesn't sound like "raw" to me.

Best,

Alan

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Somebody here must be very familiar with unroasted cacao nibs, right?  Is it even remotely possible that cocoa butter and cocoa can be pressed out of them without roasting first? 

Yes, it can be done. Even so, I'd be a bit skeptical.

The roasting is an important component to making things taste chocolaty. This is partly due to the flavor development that happens during roasting -- as happens when so many things are roasted. At the same time, there are quite a wide variety of chemicals that need to be broken down to remove various flavor notes that do not taste good.

The fermentation of the beans at the farm / co-op / whatever helps to break these down and improves the flavor greatly from how the beans taste right off the tree. Fermentation does not remove all the harsh chemicals however and so the roasting is an important step to creating anything with a good flavor.

Another issue that must be considered is that cocoa beans are collected and dried on the jungle floor -- or very close thereto. Because of this, they can carry nasty little bugs like e-coli and samonilla. I don't know if you remember, Cadbury's had to perform a major recall several years ago because of nasties being found in their finished chocolate. If it can happen to Cadbury's, it can happen to everybody.

A few years ago, I was curious as to what was being done by the "raw food" types to eliminate e-coli and samonilla from their beans. I called a few and basically the response I got was: "We had some beans tested once and they came out clean." (Note, this isn't even having the beans tested lot-to-lot.)

I anticipate that someone who is producing raw nibs will get a bunch of people sick in the not too distant future and it will give the chocolate industry a black eye.

In short, I'd stay clear of raw cocoa powder or nibs even though I see no reason why cocoa powder could not be made from ground up raw nibs.

-Art

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A few years ago, I was curious as to what was being done by the "raw food" types to eliminate e-coli and samonilla from their beans. 

I called someone, too, and was told he used "ozone." It'll work, but a bit hazardous to use if one's not careful. It would be interesting to see how they do it, what equipment they use and the kill rate afterwards.

Still, all nasties aside, are they sure it doesn't go over their hallowed 118°F when fermented, dried, and pressed into powder?

And what about flavors lost from not roasting?

I'm all for experimentation, but "raw cocoa" doesn't seem possible to me... or very chocolatey!

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