Cacao beans that have been harvested, fermented and thoroughly dried are ready to be processed into a variety of different products. These cacao-based products can each be used in many different ways. They can also be processed further in other ways, such as by undergoing roasting or other heat-treatment in preparation for chocolate-making or other cocoa-based products.
Cacao nibs are made from fermented and dried cacao beans, which are de-hulled then broken into smaller pieces. As they contain the whole cacao bean, they are packed with plenty of antioxidants and bioactive compounds and possess the full flavour the cacao has to offer. These are the most easily obtained product and best used as a topping or addition to your everyday meals. They can be added to your daily smoothie, mixed into your muesli, added into home-baked goods and more.
Raw Criollo cacao bean with separated hull and raw Criollo cacao nibs.
Block of ceremonial Criollo cacao paste and cacao elixir whisked by traditional Molinillo whisk.
Cacao paste, also known as cacao liquor, is made from milling whole cacao beans into a creamy, rich paste. The paste is allowed to solidify into a solid block for later use. The solid block of cacao paste can also be considered to be 100% chocolate as it contains only pure, whole cacao beans. As cacao paste contains the whole cacao bean, it possesses all of the antioxidants, bioactive compounds and full flavour the cacao has to offer. Cacao paste is best consumed by mixing with hot water to create a rich, therapeutic elixir. This elixir can be frothed using a traditional Molinillo whisk as part of a sacred cacao ceremony.
Cacao butter is the combined butter made from all of the fat-based components in whole cacao beans. This is made by pressing the milled cacao beans to separate the cacao butter from the non-fat cacao mass or solid. The most common use for cacao butter is for making chocolate, however, cacao butter is a great option for making desserts at home, especially in raw vegan recipes. Cacao butter is also used in many cosmetic products, such as moisturising lotions. Made from raw cacao beans, cacao butter is packed with plenty of antioxidants and healthy natural fats.
Drops of raw Criollo cacao butter.
Raw Criollo cacao powder.
Cacao powder is obtained from milling whole cacao beans and pressing them to remove the fat content. The resulting cacao mass can then be ground into a fine powder. This powder is versatile and easy to use at home, such as for making raw vegan desserts. It can also be mixed with a milk and sweetener of your choice for a sweet, chocolatey beverage. Made from raw cacao beans, cacao powder contains plenty of antioxidants, flavonoids, and minerals with a variety of health benefits and possesses a rich, aromatic flavour.
Cacao beans can also be heat treated, such as by roasting, to produce cocoa-based products. Cocoa-based products are typically used to make powders and butters for home-baking, mixed with sugars, preservatives and other ingredients to make sweetened hot chocolate powders, or processed to make chocolate products and other confectionaries.