Introduction to Cocoa Powder Alkalization Process
The nineteenth century is the most important period in the development of the cocoa industry. “Casparus van Houten“, for example, discovered the method of extracting cocoa butter in 1828. He was Dutch and worked in a chocolate factory producing chocolate drinks. His son, who was a chemist, after decades of effort, managed to reduce the acidity of natural cocoa powder by soaking it in alkaline salts. The alkalization process increased the solubility of cocoa powder in chocolate drinks. Also, the reduced bitterness – as a result of alkalization- made drinks more pleasant.
Hutton patented his invention in the Netherlands. For this reason, sometimes “alkalized cocoa powder” is also called “Dutch cocoa powder“.
Currently, the term “alkalization process” and “alkalized cocoa powder” are widely used in the industry.
One of the Turkish companies that currently is using this process to improve the solubility and flavor of cocoa powder is the Turkish company “Latamarko“. The company uses advanced devices to produce both natural and alkalized cocoa powder.
How is The Alkalization Process Done?
The alkalization process is divided into three main categories:
Each of the above has its benefits.
Nib Alkalization Process
This alkalization process is mostly done in the United States and Europe. Improving the color and taste achieved in this one is not possible with the other two methods.
In this method, raw cocoa beans are crushed using special devices and their skin is separated. What is remained is called “meat” or “nibs“. Then the nibs are soaked in an alkaline solution.
Cocoa Cake Alkalization Process:
Before performing this type of process, the roasting, winnowing, and milling steps are performed on the nibs, respectively. Also, “cocoa butter” is separated from milled nibs. What is left is “cocoa cake“.
To perform the cocoa cake alkalization process, the cake is crushed into chunks the size of a pebble and then immersed in an alkaline solution. Then, after reducing the moisture content of the product to 5%, it turns into powder. This powder is “alkalized cocoa powder”.
Cocoa Liquor Alkalization Process
This method is similar to the previous type. But the difference is that the alkalization process takes place before the separation of cocoa butter. This means that the treatment is done on liquor (milled nibs).
The downside of this type of process is that the cocoa butter (which is part of the liquor and has not yet been separated) becomes alkaline, and additional processes must be performed on the cocoa butter to make it normal.
The strength of the cocoa liquor alkalization process is that it does not require advanced devices such as those that alkaline the nibs.
Latamarko is one of the leading companies in the production of alkalized cocoa powder. The products of this company have several quality certifications and their price is competitive. Latamarko is based in Istanbul, but exports alkalized cocoa powder all over the world. Cocoa beans, which are the origin of Latamarko products, are organic and are purchased from Ecuador and Ivory Coast.