Cocoa butter comes from the cacao bean, which is found inside the cocoa pod, which grows on the cacao tree. The cocoa pod is a large, gourd-shaped fruit; inside the pod are 30 to 40 cocoa seeds. After these seeds are dried, roasted, and pressed, the vegetable fat is extracted from the beans. That fat is what we know as cocoa "butter," and what's leftover can be ground down to become cocoa powder. Solid at room temperature, cocoa butter has a low melting point and a super-long shelf life of around two to five years.
Chocolate, hair, and skin products are some of the most common products made from cocoa butter. The list of all products created from cocoa butter could baffle you, but how is cocoa butter made? Do not fret because we have all the answers for you in this article.
What is cocoa butter extracted from?
Cocoa Butter, a natural fat-rich substance is extracted from the cacao beans of a Cacao Tree. The cocoa butter part is extracted from the fruit separately from cocoa cream. The process is simple but requires a lot of patience to get high-quality butter.
Where do you get cacao trees?
Cacao tree thrives in hot, damp, still air, characteristic of tropical climates such as those in South America, Africa, and some parts of South Asia. It mostly grows as an undergrow in the forest naturally among vines, palms, and other trees or may sprout along the river.
Our cocoa butter comes from Ghana, a country that trades cocoa as foreign exchange. Cocoa is cultivated in different agro-ecological regions in Ghana, including Ashanti, Eastern, and Central regions. Typically, cocoa production is one of the backbones of the country's economy.
Most of the Cocoa harvested comes from planted farms which are often mixed with other crops to protect the plant from extreme conditions. At least 70% of all cocoa comes from Africa and another significant percentage from South America and the Caribbean. Some farms are located in Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Extraction Process
Extraction of cocoa butter from the pod starts a long way with planting the cocoa. After three years, it starts producing flowers that mature into seeds. Once the cacao pods mature and ripen, they are harvested by hand using machetes.
There are about 20-40 encased cocoa beans inside each mature pod in an edible, sweet, and greasy pulp. The seeds are extracted from the pods and fermented on a flat, dry surface or in a box. Fermentation process follow to tear down the pulp and remove the bean coat and its germ. This process (fermentation) also is responsible for seed flavor.
Once the fermentation process is done, the beans are dried in the sun or artificially. Manual sorting of these beans then follows to help take out debris or other germinated, broken, or moldy beans. Interestingly, one can process cocoa butter in the seed before germination or after germination. Thus, cacao beans processed before germination produce the ordinary off-white/yellow to light beige cocoa butter, while germinated beans yield black cocoa butter that is brown with a great aroma.
Besides, the beans can be roasted and grounded to fine powder or bits, usually referred to nibs. Adding the fine powder or nibs to hot boiling water and thorough mixing ensure easy blending. Throughout this process, the cocoa beans' vegetable fat rises to the surface of the water, making it easy to collect into containers. Since cocoa butter has a low melting point, it solidifies immediately it reaches room temperature. Alternatively, hydraulic press can be used to press the nibs to release cacao oil. The cacao cake which remains in the press is made into lovely cocoa powder. The last step is refining which involves bleaching, aromatizing, and degumming.
The good thing about our cocoa butter is that it is handcrafted using ancient techniques used in Ghana by older generations. The women involved in the process ensure quality as the old techniques used in the region have instilled in them the right practices to extract the needed goodness from the nuts.
Indeed, the process of making cocoa butter comes a long way. You need to have the seed ready from the farm-fresh produce to get an excellent oil with versatile uses. With all the steps above, you can appreciate how far cocoa butter comes to your products.
The Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is a versatile edible oil that can be used on the skin as a fragrance soap or moisturizer. The use of handmade Cocoa butter, creams, lotions, and handmade soap has peaked over the years, and more recently, the product has gained popularity as people use it in their daily routine. Whether you use it as a cosmetic product or for culinary, here are some unique benefits of using a handmade cocoa butter soap:
1. ANTIOXIDANT POWERHOUSE TO FIGHT FREE-RADICAL DAMAGE
We do a lot to keep our skin young and vibrant, but normal metabolic processes in the body often produce free radicals. The free radicals break down the skin's collagen, leading to in unattractive skin issues, including wrinkles, dark marks, age lines, and saggy skin. Luckily, cocoa butter is loaded with antioxidants to help the body fight off the effect of free radicals on beautiful skin. It restores the lost collagen in the inner skin levels, leading to a youthful complexion. Research reveals that cocoa and its products offer vital phytocompounds with therapeutic and nutritional value. This research further shows that cocoa provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidants activities to help maintain skin health. Thus, regular use of cocoa butter can help prevent and eliminate signs of aging such as wrinkles, dark spots, and dullness.
Want to make this incredible whipped body butter? Learn here!
2. A RICH MOISTURIZER THAT DEEPLY HYDRATES YOUR SKIN
The skin needs to stay moisturized all the time. Lack of moisture causes the skin to behave abnormally. Some of the side effects can include itching, scratching, and cracking. Besides, the skin looks unhealthy. Moisturized skin is elastic and has a good tone. Cocoa butter is excellent emollient and suitable for and works deep in the skin to keep it hydrated and supple.
Regular use of cocoa butter reverses the side effects to create supple, healthy skin. Supple, healthy skin helps fight conditions like eczema and reduce illnesses associated with dry skin. The oils in cocoa butter make this possible by creating an oil barrier that prevents the skin from losing moisture.
3. RELIEVES SENSITIVE SKIN
Cocoa butter is designed to work on all skin types; hence, it is used in multiple products. It is gentle on the skin suffering from conditions like eczema. Studies on cocoa butter have shown that at least 90% of people with sensitive skin do not have any adverse effects. Cocoa butter is known to reduce skin redness and be non-comedogenic and safe on all skin types. Some studies have shown that cocoa butter may be effective against acne, psoriasis, skin cancer, and wounds.
4. GREAT INGREDIENT FOR HAIR PRODUCTS
While everyone is ready to jump on the cocoa butter skincare bandwagon, very few realize how great it can be for the hair. Using cocoa butter in your hair will help minimize dandruff and improve the strength of your hair follicles, making your hair thicker. It will also have a healthier shine and be less brittle.
Unrefined cocoa butter profoundly moisturizes the scalp as it does with other skin products to reduce the chances of dandruff developing which often grows on dry skin. Apart from moisturizing the hair, it also adds a host of nutrients to rejuvenate and shine the hair. Cocoa butter is protective, and the use of the liquid form before showers protects other natural oils in your hair for a healthier scalp.
Due to Cocoa butter’s moisturizing effect, it helps remove frizziness. Softer hair is easier to comb, which can be achieved through deep treatment with cocoa butter. Just a few minutes of conditioning can deeply moisturize your hair for great hair days.
Cocoa butter is a great natural product that is great for the skin and hair and is used as a food product. As a nutritional source, it contains vitamin E and good cholesterol, which improves bone health and reduces some liver deficiencies. As a hair and skin product, it helps in hydration, making them stronger and vibrant.
Also, our cocoa butter is sourced from Ghana. It has been hand-harvested and processed from cocoa beans, and buying your cocoa butter from us also means supporting the families in Ghana that depend on this as an income.
How to Use Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is a handy product with wide application in life. There is no use in having so many applications if there is no way to use the vegetable oil. Luckily there are many ways you can beneficially use cocoa butter daily to reap the benefits and nutritional value. We will discuss some of the ways to use Cocoa butter. Keep scrolling!
1. USE IN COSMETICS
Say bye-bye to dry lips by making this hydrating balm!
Hydrate your skin with this amazing cocoa lotion!
Cocoa butter is a solid substance typical temperature, making it necessary to melt it first to incorporate it into many skincare and hair products. Most people learn of cocoa butter when reading the ingredient list on their cosmetic products. Also, cocoa butter is antioxidants-rich to help prevent rancidity. This might explain cocoa butter products have extended shelf life. Regarding its feel, cocoa butter has velvet smooth fell on one's skin; thus, it is ideal for lip balm, lotions, creams, and various kinds of makeup.
Cocoa butter works so well as lotion cream and lip balm. It is often used in creams and lotions, as it contains nutrients like vitamin E. Alternatively, it can work as a great emollient. Some of the products that contain cocoa butter use it as sunscreen as it helps photo-aging. You can use different products by rubbing them daily on your skin or lips.
Most products containing cocoa butter have a minimal amount of this ingredient and other additives. If you need to use it with higher purity, you can consider DIY recipes for cocoa butter. This also helps you create cocoa butter products that you love and incorporate into your daily routine.
Cocoa butter is non-comedogenic, but some of the additives in the products you buy may be concerning, which may give room for using it in its pure form, as in our case. Other cosmetic products are oil, shampoos, and hair moisturizer, which help reduce frizz, detangle hair, moisturize, and increase its shine.
2. USE COCOA IN FOOD
Enjoy savory treats and recipes by cooking directly with cocoa butter to add a bit of creaminess to your beverages and desserts. Cocoa butter is a great vegan alternative to butter and can be used in place of coconut oil. Cocoa butter is excellent for cooking at high temperatures as it doesn't smoke easily. It is advisable to melt cocoa butter before use as it is solid.
Cocoa butter is a vital ingredient in chocolate as it forms the continuous phase of chocolate. While you may not know it, at least 55% of chocolate is cocoa butter. It helps give the chocolate a great aroma and its unique taste. Cocoa butter is used in white and brown chocolates, with the different colors influenced by the different kinds of cocoa butter used.
3. CANDLES AND SOAPS
Bring relaxation and enjoyment to your home with handmade cocoa butter soap and candles. Handmade cocoa butter soap is gentle on the skin and contains no fragrances or additives while suitable for different skin types.
Simple Cocoa Butter recipes with oils create massage oils that are luxurious, nourishing, and aromatic. The use of cocoa butter in soap and candle oil is relaxing and soothing. It nourishes the skin from dryness in winter, dehydration, and sunburn in summer. Cocoa Butter has natural sun protection and is rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Omegas 6 and 9.
Cocoa butter is a vital oil with many uses. You can utilize it in diet, skincare, hair care, and aromatic candles. The different uses make it usable for other people who need to enjoy its unique benefits.
FOR MORE BARAKA COCOA BUTTER RECIPES:
Visit our recipe blogs and start creating amazing products with your cocoa butter!