How to Extract Cocoa Butter

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(Image: cacao organico image by Carlos Hernandez from Fotolia.com)

Cocoa butter, a creamy fat extracted from cacao seeds, is added to a wide range of foods, chocolate and cosmetics. Cacao seeds, however, are difficult to process effectively without professional grade equipment. The difficult extraction process often increases the price tag of products that include cocoa butter. Nevertheless, cocoa butter continues to remain appealing to those who love its creamy texture, desirable scent and distinct flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Cacao beans (seeds)
  • Clean water
  • Heating container
  • Cooling container
  • Fan
  • Oven
  • Roaster
  • Stove
  • Industrial strength filter press
  • Hammer
  • Coffee or spice grinder
  • Thermometer

Clean the amount of beans you want to extract the butter from with fresh, cold water. This will remove unwanted residue from the beans as well as any immature or misshapen beans before processing.

Heat the beans to a temperature anywhere between 280 and 320 degrees F for 5 to 8 minutes. Using a roaster is preferable to an oven, as the hulls are flammable.

Cool the beans with cool air for a period between 3 to 7 minutes and to a temperature of approximately 90 degrees F. Then, divide the beans into groups by size.

Fracture the hulls in each of the divided groups of beans by putting them under centrifugal force. Spin them fast enough to fracture the outer hulls, You may alternately smash the outer hulls with a hammer. Heat the inner portions, once free of the outer hulls, to a temperature of 200 degrees F.

Grind the heated inner portions to extract the cocoa butter with a coffee (or spice) grinder. Press the cocoa butter through an industrial strength filter press to get the refined butter.

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