I roasted cocoa beans and many have already separated from the seed husk. that I can do with it?
updated by @mariano-garcia: 06/16/15 09:02:56PM
The James Cooper PLC is turning the shells of cocoa beans into paper
i'm not familiar with them. i think it's safe to say that every day, people do things that they shouldn't do simply because they don't know any better. If the burden of safety was applied universally, cigarettes would not exist 8-) Studies have shown over and over again that if you believe something's ok, you're going to do it regardsess of what the actual data says. Thats' the reason we've got a raw chocolate movement that won't go away. And the reason why people will keep trying to drink things loaded with heavy metals, pesticides, and mycotoxins.
Actually, many people make tea from the shells. I am not sure where Sebastian gets his information about heavy metals in the shells (???) Where did that come from? I personally farm about a half a ton a year of cacao on my farm, organically, and I have no idea where the "heavy metals" could come from. Actually, I have many tourists who visit my farm from Europe who ask me to buy my shells, as they say that they are extremely expensive in Europe. They choose to make tea from them they say that the nutritional qualities are higher in the shell.
We here at Talamanca Organica Cacao and Fine Chocolate use the shells as mulch in our vegatable garden, that is if we are not giving them away to tea drinkers. Recently I had a guy ask me for the shells to use as smoke. (I thought wow, now there is a novel idea!) He twisted up some fresh shells right out of my winnower and smoked away. I had a puff or two and I must say, it was nice and smooth and nothing like tabacco or other smoke that gets you dizzy and high. This shell had a marvelous taste of chocolate, that was quite appealing! with no after affect. It burned very well, but then again, it was fresh roasted.
Additionally, I have made Kumbutcha from the shells for personal consumption, and it was quite nice, too. I am sure we can think of a million other things to do with the shells. And I would really like to hear more about these so called heavy metals in the shells?
Hello Peter, I found this information from the Codex Alimentarium, which supports Sebastian´s warning: CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE PREVENTION AND REDUCTION OF OCHRATOXIN A CONTAMINATION IN COCOA (CAC/RCP 72-2013) www.codexalimentarius.org/input/download/standards/.../CXP_072e.pdf
Please note item 7: "(...) only the stage of shell removal can significantly reduce OTA levels."
Therefore, no cocoa tea made from shells for my kid.
Regarding heavy metals, i.e. Cd & Pb, are relatively common in volcanic soils. At the Fine Cacao Chamber of Costa Rica, we are developing a project to identify the correlation of Cd content in soil, beans and 70% couverture. More information with Dr. Carlos Hernandez from Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (cherna @ una.ac.cr)
One of the first processing steps involves roasting of cocoa that consists in a heat treatment of the beans at 110–140 °C for about 30 min for beans and 12 min for nibs, depending on the equipment. The primary goal of roasting is to complete the development of the chemical reactions responsible for the formation of sensory characteristics of flavour and colour of ‘chocolate’ (Kamphuis, 2009 and Ziegleder, 2009). In addition, there is an important decrease in the water content, volatile acidity (Minifie, 1999) and microbial contamination of cocoa beans (ICMSF, 2005). After roasting the separation of the shell is facilitated, being removed by winnowing. The cotyledon is now breakable, which produces the nibs. The nibs are ground to form a fluid mass of a dark brown colour called liquor (also called cocoa mass when solidified by cooling). The temperature used in this process is 50–70 °C, during a variable time of 2–72 h, depending on the equipment and cocoa quality and the required chocolate quality (Beckett, 2008). The homogeneous combination of cocoa materials (liquor and butter) with milk products, sugars and/or sweeteners, and other additives, produces the chocolate (Codex Alimentarius., 2003). The process occurs at temperatures between 45 and 100 °C (Minifie, 1999) and at this stage a reduction in acidity and moisture content is observed, and the Maillard reaction is enhanced. Some steps of cocoa processing involve heat treatment or segregation of fractions, which can play an important role in the reduction of contamination of cocoa by ochratoxin A. The purpose of this study is to determine the natural contamination present in cocoa by-products and to evaluate the effect of the chocolate manufacturing process on the reduction of ochratoxin, a contamination in chocolate.
Talamanca - sorry for the late response. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you've never actually conducted an analytical study of heavy metals in cocoa shells, have you? It's incredibly well understood in the chocolate world that heavy metals are concentrated in the shell of cocoa beans from two sources:
1) In C. (and in some places in S.) America, where the soils are volcanic - its very well established that volcanic soils are higher in heavy metals vs their non-volcanic counterparts. Specifically cadmium. Plants will incorporate the nutrients of the soils in which they grow into their biology - and for cocoa, cadmium becomes concentrated in the cocoa bean shell.
2) Many origins incorporate drying of the beans along the roadside. In areas of the world where leaded gasoline is still used, that lead is deposited onto the road surface and subsequently transferred to whatever foodstuffs are dried on said road.
I'd suggest that the arguement of 'i've made cocoa tea personally and i loved it!' and 'i've fed it to tourists and they said it was quite nice' and 'many people do it' is not a solid scientific proof that heavy metals are absent from the shells. By those arguements cigarette smoking would be classifed as a healthy practice. If you have the ability to control the growing conditions as well as the drying conditions (ala mycotoxins - i'll not repost info relative to that as it's already on the boards somewhere), then by all means consume the shells. However, after spending a couple of decades leading cocoa research around the world at arguably the highest level possible, i've yet to see any cocoa grower/fermenter that has the capability to sufficiently control this to guarantee a food safe practice. You can reference all the above studies that you wish (i've written many of them) - I guarantee you will not find anyone who is actually in the industry that has published a scientific, peer reviewed journal that suggests the practice is food safe.
If you choose to ingest poisions, that is your personal choice. For you to suggest that it is safe for others to do so and offer it for sale to them while simultanesouly assuring them it's safe and yet not having conducted any studies (worse yet, actively ignoring all the studies that indicate otherwise) to validate that it is indeed so is highly, highly irresponsible and immoral.
Hola Sebastian from the coastal slopes of Caribbean Costa Rica. Thank you for your information. No, I currently not conducted my own scientific analysis of my soil over the past 20 plus years of farming cacao. Yes, I am in the process of conducting this analysis in soil, as well as genetic heritage of my trees. The prior owner of our farm, Mr. Rolegio Smith from Punta Uva, owned and worked the farm for 70 plus years before I bought it from him. And before that his family, The notable Downer family worked the larger farm (including what is now mine) for a 85 plus years before that. These peoole never lived on the land; they only lived out on the beach area, and worked the "farm" from dawn until afternoon. There were no roads, at all here until the 1980's as the Province of Limon was a restricted province to keep the Black people and Jungle at bay. It wasn't until 1950's that Black people could even leave the Province and go to the capital.
Before that (1700's) it was all Indigeneous land which the artifacts in the soil reveal as well. But really really, where we are here is "new land" so to speak, recently arisen from the sea. It is not uncommon to see coral deposits nearby and I have even seen this 1Km inland, on the top of a high hill with 400 year old Almond Trees growing out of them! So, all in all we can conclude that the land near at the home of Talamanca Organica is recently risen from the sea (within the last 1000 of years or so), quite far from the alluvial flow of the volcanic region of Costa Rica. Heck, we don't even have any native rock here....it is all clay rock. You have to travel way out to the River Sixaola or the River Chirripo to get any rock, hence why gravel costs a fortune here.
So, yes, I can understand where alluvial flow soils typical of Central and South America would contain Cadium, and other heavy metals. And yes, I see the practice here in the province of locals drying cacao on the roadside. WE, here at Talamanca Organica sun dry our cacao in our farm, and then our cacao is stored daily on clean organic cotton linen, untl it is complete dry; and then in airtight containers. Just yesturday I was sunnin up a ferment from Nov 2014, and I have to tell you that it is as beateous as ever, with amazing aroma and a lovely fruity taste, and only sundried.
If you are ever in my neck of the woods, and you would like to tour my sustainable, organic, regenerative cacao farm, I invite you. And if you have your handy soil testing kit, I would love to offer my soil for your review. You will see that the Superior taste in our beans in multi-fold. First off, it's organic, second, it's grown in harmony with the forest (and that is taste worthy), and it is fermented with prestige and sundried exclusively with our expertise.
Thanks you very much for sharing your experience, and i hope one day you try our beans.
And yes, I agree with you, people can ingest poison in they so choose. I do not. And I hold that principle in my agricultural practices. I am fascinated, though with the European love of the cacao shell, and the high demand amongst the European tourist. Yep, few Americans are even interested in it at all.... and it was an Isreali who discovered smoking it....I never thought of it before that. Pura vida, Christina.
That's great Christina - Costa Rica is one of my favorite places on Earth. I'm absolutely in love with it. I considered buying properety there at one point, however the squatters laws made that problematic for me in that i'd need to visit my property every 3 (or was it 6?) months to ensure no one had moved in. If they did, and i didn't remove them, they could claim the property as their own.
You may wish to connect with CATIE ( http://www.catie.ac.cr/) if you've not already as a local research connection. The watchout with clay is that it often doesn't contain much cadmium, but it can be very high in lead.
I'd like to add something to this conversation in regards to making Tea. Now it has been said its composed of heavy metals, but when brewing tea, you're dissolving solids, etc into your solution - have there been studies done for how many (if any) metals make their way into a tea?
We as a business are interested in using the husks and are going to submit samples for a 3rd party analysis to see on average what the husks are composed on when done well update you all with our findings
Heavy metal soluability in water is very well understood. A few examples below. Remember heavy metals aren't your only concern. Note that heat is largely an ineffective treatment for aflatoxins as aflatoxins tend to recombine in acidic environments (such as with the acid in your stomach, for example)
Lead melts at what, 620F or so, and aflatoxin (lets use aflatoxin a, since it's the most carcinogenic) breaks down at about 356F. I've never measured the temperature in at the smoke point source, but it'd suspect it's above 356. Lead is not going to decompose, but it could aerosolize and redeposit itself on your foods i'd wager.
And now i'm hungry for brisket.
I mentioned a while ago about having a lab analyze our husk, and it happened shortly thereafter. It took a while to remember to put the results online, so here they are. We gave two samples, one as the husk, and the other as the husk ground. From what we were told, there is nothing concerning about lead in the husks we gave. We were also told the makeup was similar in a sense to a banana peel.
Anyways, For those who are interested here it is. Would love to hear your thoughts.
If I read and understand the results of this test correctly the cadmium content is 1.57 micro gram per gram.
In Australia the limit for cadmium content in the chocolate is 0.5 micro gram per gram. Some other countries have similar limits some have no limits.
If the cadmium content in the nib was at the same level as in the shell you could use these beans to make a chocolate with cocoa mass content of no more than 30%.
Fortunately usually cadmium content in the nibs is lower than in the shell, but it should be tested before use.
that doesn't look at all like a central or south american metals profile to me.
i'd never advise you to do something consumable with the shell. you are likely nowhere near being in control of your supply chain, which means what you will recieve over time will almost assuredly be different than the snapshot you take at your analysis. mycotoxins will be a concern.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I'd like to introduce the tangent of alcoholic brewing and distillation, as I've recently had two interactions wherein a craftsman has suggested we use raw cacao to create a beverage.
First, a rum distiller had previously, when working with a whiskey distillery in NY, used raw, whole bean cacao from (brace yourself, Clay) the Brothers of Mast to make a whiskey. They were interested in doing the same now with their rum, and based on what I'd read on this thread and elsewhere, told them it wasn't a good idea to use raw cacao or shell material - and also to forget the name of those other chocolate fakers forever.
Then, a local brewer asked me, "SO, when are we gonna do a wild cacao (meaning, raw) fermentation?" Now, this is why I'm even bothering to ask for your opinion specifically, Sebastian - back in Seattle, he claims to have done such a fermentation not on a whim, but in conjunction with what I'll call "a very large, industrial, yet socially- and environmentally-responsible chocolate manufacturer that conducts and sponsors a lot of scientific research" - as I have no reason to give them a bad name, if this story does that. The conversation was cut short, so I didn't get too much info on the process, as he was kind of recalling multiple instances and methods of brewing experimentation and the laboratory of this chocolate factory (e.g., centrifugally separated cacao juice? really?). However, the main idea he was discussing was to throw the beans in whole and raw, asserting that, "... it's all yeast, right?" To which I shuddered and told him I'd look into it. Anyway, I'd like to know exactly what's what, lest his superior knowledge of brewing negates my sophomoric understanding of the risks.
Now, I'm assuming that alcohol, being a mycotoxin itself, would only amplify the possibilities of toxicity (in a bad way, not a "cool, drunker" way - LOL), no? Or would the mycotoxin battles each other for survival, yielding a comparable intoxication to alcohol alone? I would also assume the possibility of heavy metal contamination would be raised, no? Then there's the miscellaneous junk on the shell - dusts, dirt, etc - though perhaps that could be washed off to some degree (at least to the same degree as hops and malts?) without eliminating the natural yeasts?
Anyway, the big question here: is there any part of the distilling or the brewing process that might negate, if not control, the critical points previously discussed? Again, since I'd like to work with this guy in the future (preferably with roasted nibs or chocolate, though), I don't want to make assumptions or miss something crucial so as to negate the argument against shell/raw cacao use as a whole.
First off, if you make a distillate from cocoa beans it cannot legally be called either rum or whiskey. There are very strict rules laid down by the TTB (The Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau) with respect to recipes and labeling. For example, to be a rum, the product must be made from sugar or a sugar by-product (e.g., molasses).
I know this because of a) the work I did to help Cacao Prieto (now Widow Jane) gets its federal and NY State permits; and b) the work I did with New World Spirits to get a new TTB classification (the first in about 150 years) for Solbeso, which is distilled from the juice of fresh cacao pulp.
Whatever you make from distilling cocoa you cannot call it - or label it or hint at in advertising or marketing - either rum or whiskey because it does not meet the definition of those sprits (.PDF). There is an "other" category called DSS (Distilled Spirits Specialty) and this is where a product made from cocoa beans (whole or nib, roasted or unroasted) would fit. From experience, if you don't have A LOT of money (hundreds of thousands per market) and time, it's really hard to launch a new spirit that does not fit into a mainstream category.
If you plan to get involved in this project (or any distilling project) I suggest that you do your homework and learn about distilling processes and the licensing process with the TTB. The first place I would start is the TTB web site because there are a lot of great resources there.
From my personal, first-hand, experience, the temperatures involved in the distillation process, coupled with the alcohol of the finished product, are likely to kill any bacterial pathogens that might be present on the shell. And, I don't think it is going to be too difficult to overwhelm whatever viable yeasts remain on the shell, even if you do end up using whole beans. There's more I could say about process and recipes, but I have an NDA with the producers of Solbeso.
My primary concern with using whole beans - as you rightfully point out - would be with heavy metal and inorganic chemicals that might be present in the shell - as these might make it through to end of the distillation process. Testing must be done to ensure that they are not present, and you would be advised to do this both before and after distillation, starting with test batches well before you start even thinking about the process with the TTB as you are going to have to provide certificates of analysis in order to get permits to sell.
Starting from nib obviates many potential difficulties, but does not obviate the need for proper (and ongoing) testing. There are simple batch sterilization methods that can be applied to nib that don't involve heat/steam if that's a concern.
As for the Mast Bros. From a strict marketing perspective it makes sense to try to associate with their famous brand. However, from what I have heard of their history of partnering there is a risk that they may try to take credit for the idea, should it benefit their brand. I would be very careful when approaching them and make sure you have a very good IP lawyer. From a raw materials perspective there is nothing special about the cocoa they can provide. There are any number of alternative suppliers who can provide the raw inputs you are looking for (and I would actively argue against whole beans) on a large scale, at much more attractive prices.
There are other products that can be made from alcohol and cocoa, with different starting points. There may be areas I can help with that would not violate my confidentiality agreements with NWS/Solbeso - and I am happy to help (consult) where I can.
Thanks for the response! The information regarding bacteria and heavy metal analysis were very helpful. Most of your response was based on a couple misunderstandings, though, which I'll clarify just so others don't take the conversation on a deeper tangent.
First, I made a mistake by omitting an important clause. My statement should have read, "[...] used raw, whole bean cacao [...] to make a whiskey infused/flavored with cacao." The whiskey this NY company made was a traditional whiskey flavored and/or aged with raw cacao, and that is what these rum distillers wanted to do with their rum (distilled from molasses). Sorry for the confusion there.
Second, I am not personally making any alcohol products; I've merely been approached as a chocolate maker and chocolatier to provide materials or products and to collaborate on the creation of rum and beer flavored with cacao by two separate, fully licensed companies.
Finally, I would never partner with the Brothers for any reason; the current rum distiller is a former employee of the whiskey distillery that partnered with the Masts on the cacao infused/aged whiskey.
So, I have no need to discuss those three items further, but I'd love to hear more from anyone about the concerns with heavy metals, inorganic compounds, and/or mycotoxins.
Also, I would like clarification on this statement, please:
"[...] the temperatures involved in the distillation process, coupled with the alcohol of the finished product, are likely to kill any bacterial pathogens that might be present on the shell."
Does this still hold true now that I've clarified that the product would be a rum infused with cacao and not a spirit distilled from cacao?
Also, does this also hold true for the brewing of beer? Figured it's worth asking since the alcohol content is significantly lower.