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Difference between Cacao and Cocoa

In india, traditionally, sab kuch chalta hai has been the usual expectation, approach and attitude of both consumers and brands towards claims that are made. The FSSAI and the Advertising Standards Council of India have stepped up a great deal to monitor cases of misleading advertisements and claims in the Food and Beverage sector. However, the recent honey episode clearly exposes how Indian consumers are known to have a careless attitude towards many purchases they make. They do not question most claims and hence many brands take advantage of the loopholes. Coming to the topic of this article, what is the difference between Cacao and Cocoa? Lets dive in!

In almost every consumer interaction I have had in the recent past, i have been asked a question about the difference between Cacao and Cocoa. To start with, the botanical name of the tree on which cocoa pods grow is Theobroma Cacao. It is the bitter seed of this fruit which is processed into chocolate starting from from Bean to Bar. The cocoa pod are first carefully harvested (cut from the tree) and then the pulp which coats the seeds is removed from the pods and put together in the fermentation box for fermentation for 5-7 days and then usually sun dried.

Untill this stage, most of the processes are natural and happen at the farm (except drying using artificial dryers in case of rains) and the beans are referred to as cacao beans. However, once the beans travel and reach the chocolate processing unit, the chocolate maker starts by grading and sorting the beans and roasting them. This is usually the 1st artificial step that is administered on the beans. Till before the roasting stage, the beans are referred to as Cacao beans. Once the beans are roasted, they are usually referred to as cocoa beans. Cocoa usually means beans that have been processed. Post roasting, cocoa (or chocolate) liquor is made by refining the beans and is then pressed to separate cocoa butter and the resultant powder. This liquor is NOT referred to as Cacao liquor, it is referred to as cocoa liquor because it is made from processed (roasted) beans!

As next steps, commercial chocolate manufacturers treat (alkalise) cocoa to get rid of the acidity and bitterness of low quality or mass produced cacao beans that are used. Alkalised cocoa is famously called as Dutch processed cocoa !!! With us being clear about the usage of the term cocoa, let us understand what cacao refers to! Cacao is used as a term for a product that is less processed than other products. To take an example of cocoa powder, if the powder is alkalised, it is called as cocoa powder. However, if it is not alkalised, it can be called as Cacao powder.

However, your insight and inquisitiveness should not stop here! Many health and nutritional experts refer to the usage of cacao as a superfood and in many of their recommendations and recipes without really expanding or explaining on what is the exact product they are referring to! It is researched extensively and believed that Cocoa contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. However, most of the antioxidants are available in non processed cacao and the benefits reduce as they are further processed. This means RAW beans contain most of the benefits that have been researched! Roasting and alkalising it results in the most loss of antioxidants. However, we must remember that cacao also contains a lot of fat (50% by weight!). Hence it is useful to press out the fat from it. When pressed, the resultant product is powder. If the beans are not roasted (to retain antioxidants) and powder is pressed, the resultant product is RAW cacao powder and is believed to retain the most antioxidants and the most healthy! Hence it is best to use RAW cacao powder or RAW cacao nibs if the aim is to accentuate health benefits from cacao.

Bakers must also note that baking soda causes an increase in pH and subsequent destruction of flavanol compounds and antioxidant activity. Hence it is best to avoid baking soda in your healthy bakes.

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Team Building session with chocolates. Now Virtually!

Team building session with chocolates. Please click here to access the presentation on how HR/Project managers can engage their teams virtually for a team building activity during this pandemic. Link: Click Below are a few testimonials from our clients.

We reached out to Nitin for a team session on appreciating Indian bean to bar chocolates. The team enjoyed the bonding over the session and learnt a lot about making, eating and enjoying chocolates. Nitin engaged with many of them and answered all their queries which made it very interactive. Whilst initially a two hour session, we went on for nearly three hours. All thanks to Nitin and his wonderful chocolates!

– Yash J Ashar, Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Mumbai

Given the continued WFH, we were looking for a fun and informative virtual session that would help the team interact. Some of the other options we considered were stand up comedy or concert, but we felt with Nitin’s knowledge and credentials and the excellent Kocoatrait chocolates, a chocolate appreciation session would be more interactive and engaging. We were not disappointed – the session was excellent and everyone really enjoyed it. We would highly recommend it.

– Prashant Gupta, Partner and National Practise Head (Capital Markets), Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, New Delhi

The chocolates that we are going to Taste, savour and appreciate and special too! They are planet friendly, Zero Waste, Single Origin Bean to Bar Chocolates. The video below describes the journey of Kocoatrait chocolates from bean to bar!

The Journey fo Planet Friendly Kocoatrait chocolates from Bean to Bar

You could also choose to include a zero waste sustainable and planet friendly chocolate gift box (options available in reusable TIN and Plam leaf). This box lends itself very well to the overall virtual chocolate appreciation experience. The box is available to view at: https://cocoatrait.com/product/zero-waste-gift/

From an HR perspective, the top 10 benefits of virtual team building are listed here: https://www.teamtactics.co.uk/blog/2020/04/03/top-10-benefits-of-virtual-team-building/

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Bake Better: Chocolate couverture made with Desi Khandsari a.k.a Muscovado Sugar

Why should you be baking with Khandsari Sugar and care if the baking chocolate you are using is sweetened with it? Read on..

Muscovado, also khandsari and khand, is a type of partially refined to unrefined sugar with a strong molasses content and flavour made from thickened sugar cane syrup. It is neither bleached nor contains harmful chemicals and additives and hence considered a less processed substitute to white sugar. It is dark brown in colour usually. Khandsari and Gur (jaggery) are the most popular forms of the traditional sugars in northern India.

Khandsari sugar is usually darker than other sugars

The largest producer and consumer of khandsari is India. The English name “muscovado” is derived from a corruption of Portuguese açúcar mascavado (unrefined sugar).The Indian English names for this type of sugar are khandsari and khand (sometimes spelled khaand). Nearly two thirds of the total sugarcane produced had been used for manufacturing of the traditional sugars in 1930’s. However, after introduction of sugar refinery mills and their significant growth and increased demand for white sugar associated with increase in per-capital income among the population, the demand for the traditional sugars declined. By 2000, only 32.5% of the total sugarcane produced in India was used for manufacturing of Gur and Khandsari.

Muscovado a.k.a Khandsari sugar sugar is unrefined cane sugar that contains natural molasses. It has a rich brown color, moist texture, and toffee-like taste. It’s commonly used to give confections like cookies, cakes, and candies a deeper flavor but can also be added to savory dishes. This is the reason why Kocoatrait chocolate couvertures have a deeper and unique toffee like note. This helps bakers add a slightly unique flavour to their final products. This is perhaps the main reason you should be Baking with Khandsari Sugar.

The use of khand in India in making sweets has been traced to at least 500 BC, when both raw and refined sugar were used. Along with gur, khandsari unrefined sugar is India’s traditional sweetener,[28] commonly used in traditional recipes for masala chai (spiced Indian tea), eating with roti by mixing with melted ghee, traditional Indian sweets that require sugar such as kheer (Indian rice pudding), gur or khand chawal (sweetened rice) or laddu. Khandsari (muscovado) is used in traditional Ayurveda medicine to aid blood purification, digestion, bone health and the lungs.

Having said the above, our verdict is as follows: While it is true that khandsari has more nutritional value than white sugar.  But let us be real.  One should not be eating sugar for the vitamins and minerals! The fact is that khandsari is minimally processed and has a unique flavour profile which makes it interesting to work with. This should be the reason you should consume it. Further, there has always been a debate about bone char being used to refine sugar. We just could not get around proving that, so we decided to avoid the problem instead of solving it ! We do not encourage the health claims associated with khandsari. However, using minimally processed and safe ingredients is always something we are eager to do Thats why we buy only USDA organic certified khandsari sugar for use in Kocoatrait chocolate products.  

https://www.longdom.org/open-access/alternative-and-supplementary-health-model-on-traditional-sugars.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscovado
Michael Krondl, Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert, Chicago Review Press, ISBN 978-1556529542, pp. 34–35

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Kocoatrait Chocolate Flavours

Kocoatrait Bean to Bar Chocolate India
Kocoatrait Bean to Bar Chocolate India

55% Dark Milk Irish Cream Chocolate (Brand: Kocoatrait)
This chocolate bar is our treat to the coffee lover who can’t live without chocolate! The Irish cream flavour adds to the comfort!

64% Dark (Brand: Kocoatrait)
This is our signature plain dark single origin chocolate made with Indian cacao. We have strived hard to enhance the rum & raisin notes of this chocolate bar. Makes us proud!

64% Sukku Coffee Dark Chocolate (Brand: Kocoatrait)
Sukku Coffee, a popular drink in Tamilnadu is used to aid in digestion. It is a combination of dry ginger, coriander seeds, and other flavorful spices. We aim to recreate the popular Sukku experience with chocolate!

65% Pink Rose Dark Chocolate (Brand: Kocoatrait)
Organic & very aromatic Pink Rose from Rajasthan provides the subtle rose flavour to enhance the experience of love! Perfect gift for your loved one.

65% Masala Chai Dark Chocolate (Brand: Kocoatrait)
The masalas that trigger freshness have been perfectly roasted and incorporated in this chocolate bar made of Indian origin cocoa beans!

65% Coconut Milk & Cinnamon Dark Chocolate (Brand: Kocoatrait)
The creaminess of coconut milk and a pinch of cinnamon helps enjoy the bar while being vegan!

66% Dark Banana (Brand: Kocoatrait)
This dark chocolate bar is made with Indian Bananas for a balanced and delightful fruity experience!

66% Dark Lavander (Brand: Kocoatrait)
This dark chocolate bar is made with Kashmiri Lavander flowers for a creamy dark experience!

65% Red Rose Dark Chocolate (Brand: Kocoatrait)
Organic Red Rose from Rajasthan is used to flavour this bar! With less on aroma but higher (than pink rose) on flavour, this bar is a way to please your pallete!

70% Dark (Brand: Kocoatrait)
This is our deep and rounded plain bar! Cocoa in its purest form!

70% Dark Jaggery (Brand: Kocoatrait)
This is our deep and rounded plain bar sweetened with jaggery to a familiar treat! Cocoa in its purest form!

66% Dark Lemongrass (Brand: Kocoatrait)
Lemongrass is long associated with food preparation! Here we use real lemongrass of Indian origin to create a deep connection with cacao. Enjoy this South American combination!