Once you’ve got your hands on cacao you then need to do something with it. Luckily, the purchasing and preparation involved with cacao is quite straight forward, which allows for it to be eaten in many ways.
Learning how to make cocoa powder at home is a fairly simple task, but purchasing cacao can be a little bit tricky. You can get the cacao nibs from most health stores, thanks to the growth in popularity, but the cacao pods will need to be bought online. Don’t worry too much about buying the pods as that’s just for the die hard fans who would like to go through each and every step of the process.
Making cocoa powder from cacao pods is an easy process. Sure, you can purchase cocoa powder straight from the shops, but it’s never the same as putting the love and effort in yourself. Making cocoa powder is the first step towards home made chocolates, cakes, and other bakes.
Unfortunately, if you want to start from absolute scratch with the pods then you’ll need reliable hot weather. We’re talking 3 days of at least 6 hours of sun. If not, then you’ll want to purchase the pre-fermented and dried cacao beans.
Firstly, when you have the cacao pods you need to open them up and make sure to remove all of the cacao beans. Leave no bean inside. Once done, place them in a container (preferably lined with banana leaves, but it’s not necessary) and leave to ferment for 3 days. After the beans have fermented, remove them from the container and leave them outside for 3 days to dry.
Now, once you have your fermented and dried beans then you’ll want to roast them for 5 minutes at 400 degrees and then 5 to 10 minutes at 250 degrees. You need to turn the heat down in order not to burn them.
Remove from the oven and separate out any bad bits. This means taking out the hulls to leave you with the cacao nibs. The fastest way of doing this is by cracking them all with a rolling pin and then gently blowing so that the lighter shells blow away.
The next step is to grind all of the roasted nibs to turn them into a nice, smooth paste. The best way to do this is with a coffee grinder or even a juicer. You want them incredibly small so that they cover all of the surface area of the tongue and give you the deepest flavor. Blend about 100 grams of cocoa nibs at a time. The mixture you’re left with is the cocoa powder.
From here you can make chocolate, hot chocolate, and various baking goods. There are thousands of recipes on the internet you can take forward from here. As you follow these steps and learn how to make cocoa powder you can enjoy it’s wonderful taste and use it however you want.
Make sure to check out all of our other articles on cocoa to find out exactly what cacao is as well as the history, pros and cons for cacao to get you more clued in on this fantastic food.