Cocoa solids

Cocoa solids are a mixture of many substances remaining after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans. When sold as an end product, it may also be called cocoa powder or cocoa. Cocoa solids are a key ingredient of chocolate, chocolate syrup, and chocolate confections. In contrast, the fatty component of chocolate is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is 50% to 57% of the weight of cocoa beans and gives chocolate its characteristic melting properties. Cocoa liquor or cocoa mass is a paste of roasted cocoa beans with cocoa butter and solids in their natural proportions. Recipes for chocolate require the addition of extra cocoa butter to cocoa liquor, leading to a cocoa solids surplus and thus a relatively cheap supply of cocoa powder. This contrasts with the earliest European usage of cocoa where, before milk and dark chocolate was popularized, cocoa powder was the primary product and cocoa butter was little more than a waste product.

Cocoa solids contain flavanol antioxidants, amounts of which are reduced if the cocoa is subjected to acid-reducing alkalization.[1] Health benefits have been attributed to cocoa flavonoids.[2]

Physical properties

Natural cocoa powder has a light brown color and an extractable pH of 5.3 to 5.8.[1] The processed (alkalized) cocoa powder is darker in color, ranging from brownish red to nearly black, with a pH from 6.8 to 8.1. The alkalization process reduces bitterness and improves solubility, which is important for beverage product applications. All of these pH values are considered safe for food use.[3]


Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 954 kJ (228 kcal)
57.90 g
13.70 g
19.60 g
Minerals Quantity %DV
128 mg
13.86 mg
499 mg
3.837 mg
734 mg
1524 mg
21 mg
6.81 mg
Other constituents Quantity
Water 3.00 g
Caffeine 230 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Cocoa powder contains several minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. All of these minerals are found in greater quantities in cocoa powder than either cocoa butter or cocoa liquor.[2] Cocoa solids also contain 230 mg of caffeine and 2057 mg of theobromine per 100g, which are mostly absent from the other components of the cocoa bean.[4] Cocoa solids also contain clovamide (N-caffeoyl-L-DOPA).[5][6]


Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, a subset of polyphenols. The amount of flavonoids depends on the amount of processing and manufacturing the cocoa powder undergoes.[2] Alkalization, also known as Dutch processing, causes its content of flavonoids to be substantially reduced.[1][7][8]


Cadmium content

Cocoa and cacao powders products may contain cadmium, a toxic heavy metal and probable carcinogen. The European Union has imposed a limit (starting on 1 January 2019) for cadmium in cocoa powders of 0.6 µg per gram of cocoa powder, and 0.8 µg per gram for chocolate with >= 50% total dry cocoa solids.[9] In Canada, a daily serving of a natural health product must contain no more than 6 µg of cadmium for an individual weighing 150 pounds (68 kg) and 3 µg for a 75 lb (34 kg) individual.[10] While the U.S. government has not set a limit for cadmium in foods or health products, the state of California has established a maximum allowable daily level of oral cadmium exposure of 4.1 µg, and requires products containing more than this amount per daily serving to bear a warning on the label.[11] One investigation by an independent consumer testing laboratory found that seven of nine commercially available cocoa powders and nibs selected for testing contained more than 0.3 µg of cadmium per serving gram; five of these products exceeded the proposed EU limit of 0.6 µg per gram.[7]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Miller, Kenneth B.; Jeffery Hurst, William; Payne, Mark J.; Stuart, David A.; Apgar, Joan; Sweigart, Daniel S.; Ou, Boxin (2008). "Impact of Alkalization on the Antioxidant and Flavanol Content of Commercial Cocoa Powders". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56 (18): 8527–8533. doi:10.1021/jf801670p. PMID 18710243.
  2. 1 2 3 Steinberg, F. M.; Bearden, M. N.; Keen, C. L. (2003). "Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: Implications for cardiovascular health". Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 103 (2): 215–223. doi:10.1053/jada.2003.50028. PMID 12589329. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  3. Materials Handled Cocoa Powder: Overview. Retrieved: 2 April 2014.
  4. "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, (2011)".
  5. Sanbongi, Chiaki; Osakabe, Naomi; Natsume, Midori; Takizawa, Toshio; Gomi, Shuichi; Osawa, Toshihiko (1998). "Antioxidative Polyphenols Isolated from Theobroma cacao". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 46 (2): 454–457. doi:10.1021/jf970575o. PMID 10554262.
  6. Arlorio, Marco; Locatelli, Monica; Travaglia, Fabiano; Coïsson, Jean-Daniel; Del Grosso, Erika; Minassi, Alberto (2008). "Roasting impact on the contents of clovamide (N-caffeoyl-L-DOPA) and the antioxidant activity of cocoa beans (Theobroma cacao L.)". Food Chemistry. 106 (3): 967–975. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2007.07.009.
  7. 1 2 "Product Review: Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements". LLC. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  8. "Chocolate Terms". Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  9. "Commission Regulation (EU) No 488/2014 of 12 May 2014: Amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels of cadmium in foodstuffs". 2014-05-12. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  10. "Quality of natural health products guide". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  11. "Proposition 65 Maximum Allowable Daily Level (MADL) for Reproductive Toxicity for Cadmium (Oral Route)" (PDF). Retrieved 22 August 2016.
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