Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
630
COCOA

removes mildew, and remnants of dried mucilage, &c. This may be done by “dancing the cacao,” i.e. treading a heap with the bare feet, or by the use of special polishing machines. The cacao is now ready for shipment, and is usually packed in bags. Hamburg is the chief port in the world for cacao. Until quite recently, however, this position was held by Havre, which is now second in Europe. New York imports about the same amount as Havre. London follows next in importance.

Cacao-producing Countries.—In the following table the production in tons (of 1000 kilos = 2205 ℔) of the principal producing countries, arranged under continents, is given for 1905 and 1901. During this period the total world’s production has increased by about 40%, as indicated in the summary below. Study of the table will show where the increase has taken place, but attention is directed especially to the rapid development in West Africa.

America.
  1905 (tons). 1901 (tons).
Ecuador 21,128 22,896
Brazil 21,091 18,324
Trinidad 20,018 11,943
San Domingo 12,785 6,850
Venezuela 11,700 7,860
Grenada 5,456 4,865
Cuba and Porto Rico 3,000 1,750
Haiti 2,343 1,950
Surinam 1,612 3,163
Jamaica 1,484 1,350
French West Indies 1,200 825
St. Lucia 700 765
Dominica 597 .. 
  ——— ———
Total, America 103,114 82,541
Africa.
  1905 (tons). 1901 (tons).
San Thomé 25,379 16,983
Gold Coast and Lagos 5,666 997
Cameroons 1,185 528
Congo Free State 195 .. 
  ——— ———
Total, Africa 32,425 18,508
Asia.
  1905 (tons). 1901 (tons).
Ceylon 3543 2697
Dutch East Indies 1492 1277
  —— ——
Total, Asia 5035 3974
Other countries 800 700
World’s Production.
  1905 (tons). 1901 (tons).
Tropical America and West Indies 103,114 82,541
West Africa 32,425 18,508
Asia 5,035 3,974
Other countries 800 700
  ——— ———
Total 141,374 105,723

Composition.—The relative weights of the various parts of a whole cacao pod are given thus by Prof. J. B. Harrison for British Guiana specimens:—

  Calabacillo. Forastero.
Husk 80.59 89.87
Pulp 7.61 4.23
Cuticles of the beans 1.77 0.50
Kernels of the beans 10.03 5.40
  ——— ———
  100.00 100.00

The husk is composed mainly of water and cellulose woody tissue, with their usual mineral constituents, and has a low manurial value. The pulp contains sugars which become converted into alcohol during fermentation. Fibrous elements and water compose about six-tenths of the cuticles, which also contain approximately: albuminoids (6%), alkaloids (2%), fat (2%), sugars (6%), starch (7%), colouring matter (4%), tartaric acid (3%) and small quantities of various mineral constituents. The average composition of the kernels, according to Payen, is:—

  Per cent.
Fat (cacao butter) 50 
Starch 10 
Albuminoids 20 
Water 12 
Cellulose 2 
Mineral matter 4 
Theobromine 2 
Colouring matter (cacao-red) trace 
  ———
  100.00

Manufacture of Cocoa and Chocolate.—The beans are cleaned and sorted to remove foreign bodies of all kinds and also graded into sizes to secure uniformity in roasting. The latter process is carried out in rotating iron drums in which the beans are heated to a temperature of about 260° to 280° F., and results in developing the aroma, partially converting the starch into dextrin, and eliminating bitter constituents. The beans also dry and their shells become crisp. In the next process the beans are gently crushed and winnowed, whereby the light shells are removed, and after removal by sifting of the “germs” the beans are left in the form of the irregular cocoa-nibs occasionally seen in shops. Cocoa-nibs may be infused with water and drunk, but for most people the beverage is too rich, containing the whole of the cacao-fat or cacao-butter. This fat is extracted from the carefully ground nibs by employing great hydraulic pressure in heated presses. The fat exudes and solidifies. When fresh it is yellowish-white, but becomes quite white on keeping. It is very valuable for pharmaceutical purposes and is a constituent of many pomades. With care it can be kept for a long time without going rancid.

After the extraction of the fat the resulting mass is ground to a fine powder when it is ready for use in the ordinary way. Many preparations on the market are of course not pure cocoa but contain admixtures of various starchy and other bodies.

The shells of the beans separated by the winnowing process contain theobromine, and their infusion with water is sometimes used as a substitute for coffee, under the name “miserabile.” More recently they have been put to good account as a cattle food.

In the preparation of chocolate the preliminary processes of cleaning, sorting, roasting and removing the shells, and grinding the nibs, are followed as for cocoa. The fat, however, is not extracted, but sugar, and sometimes other materials also, are added to the ground pasty mass, together with suitable flavouring materials, as for example vanilla. The greatest care is taken in the process and elaborate grinding and mixing machinery employed. The final result is a semi-liquid mass which is moulded into the familiar tablets or other forms in which chocolate comes on the market.

Cocoa as a beverage has a similar action to tea and coffee, inasmuch as the physiological properties of all three are due to the alkaloids and volatile oils they contain. Tea and coffee both contain the alkaloid caffeine, whilst cocoa contains theobromine. In tea and coffee, however, we only drink an infusion of the leaves or seeds, whilst in cocoa the whole material is taken in a state of very fine suspension, and as the preceding analysis indicates, the cocoa bean, even with the fat extracted, is of high nutritive value.

Cacao-consuming Countries.—The principal cacao-consuming countries are indicated below, which gives the imports into the countries named for 1905. These figures, as also those on production, are taken from Der Gordian.

  Tons (1000 kilos).
United States of America 34,958
Germany 29,663
France 21,748
United Kingdom 21,106
Holland 19,295
Spain 6,102
Switzerland 5,218
Belgium 3,019
Austria Hungary 2,668
Russia 2,230
Denmark 1,125
Italy 971
Sweden 900
Canada 700
Australia 600
Norway, Portugal and Finland 692
  ———
  Total  150,995