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Obviously you know, but didn't mention, there are different kinds of traditional (non-herbal) tea each made from the same plant leaves but with different types of processing. Both black and oolong tea are fermented,  so that is more similar to cacao bean processing than you suggest.  It also wouldn't be hard to use roasted cacao beans if one would like to make the processing of brewed cacao more like the processing of tea and coffee. Although the steaming of white tea leaves during processing is probably ultimately similar in impact on polyphenols as no heat processing at all, since we do the equivalent of steaming in terms of heat exposure when we hot brew white tea or our cacao beverage made from raw beans.


Here is an interesting overview of the different types of tea processing, for anyone who doesn't know about the distinctions:





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Nice, I like that,

     yet it's not a question of "difficulty" to make the clear cacao drink (CCD) process analogous or more analogous.  I'm just saying, it's not.

     ~For an analogy, maybe it's best to go beans to beans and leave the leaves out.  (Beans is beans and leaves is leaves.)  On beans, the CCD is fermented and raw; the coffee is neither.  A lab test might be indicated, or at least of interest on the comparison, is all I am saying.

     ~For me, I have my own drum beat--I'll continue with  the CCD either way but my primary cacao intake (as decided earlier) will be eating (rather than drinking) non-filtered, non-fermented, raw, cold pressed, cacao (lab tested for benis and for uglies).  Similarly, I eat rather than drink non-filtered, non-fermented minimally steamed tea (lab tested for benis and uglies).  Similarly, I still favor eating my BBOs (non-filtered, lab tested) rather than drinking filtered OO.

Edited by Kenton
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~For an analogy, maybe it's best to go beans to beans and leave the leaves out.  (Beans is beans and leaves is leaves.)  On beans, the CCD is fermented and raw; the coffee is neither.


I forgot to mention - a large fraction of coffee beans are also fermented during processing:








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I always suspected that--I mean, why not...for the same reason as cacao is fermented to ferment coffee beans just harvested while still in their cumbersome fruit encapsulations.  The two beans are truly quite analogous in many ways.  I love them both so Dearly, Dean, to brighten each day, ha!  I wish I could find labeled/certified/promised non-fermented coffee.

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Thanks Kenton. I enjoy engaging with you too!


BTW, for anyone who wants to try brewing cacao at home. You can buy your own pre-ground roasted cacao beans, from Crio Bru (e.g. this product $11 for 10oz) or Choffy (e.g. this product - $20 for 12oz) both available on Amazon, to get started and see if you like it.


But if you're serious about brewing cacao, want to spend less, and don't mind grinding your own whole beans (I use a regular coffee grinder), I recommend Chocolate Alchemy as a source of whole beans. They have a special product category consisting of cacao beans they've tested to be well-suited to brewing. You can order beans from various countries, either in raw or roasted form. They all have dates on them, so you can be sure you're buying only fresh beans. They are organic and mostly (depending on the country) fair trade certified. They give (oven) roasting instructions for each bean, for people who want to buy raw beans and roast their own, which I may try with some of my latest order.


I just bought 6lbs of various beans for a total of $70 including shipping, which works out to less than $12/lb. This is $1 less per pound than any of the whole cacao beans available on Amazon (from $12.99+), even with free Amazon Prime shipping, and a whole lot less than the Crio Bru and Choffy products listed above. Plus, none of the cacao beans sold on Amazon, including the big 'brand names' (Terrasoul, Navitas Naturals), are certified fair trade, and neither Crio Bru or Choffy products are organic or fair trade certified. 



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Yes, the owner at Chocolate Alchemy has been a provider of cacao beans to me for over a decade.  The company is awesome for knowledge and variety.  However, currently, I primarily buy lab tested cacao bean powder, 5lb for $38, at WFN.   I buy there for quality not price.  (Nuts.com is also fabulous quality/price for skin on whole beans.)

Edited by Kenton
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I too have bought great cacao beans from Nuts.com, although the price is higher than Amazon, and a lot higher than Chocolate Alchemy. The Nuts.com beans are lighter in color than Navitas or Terrasoul, because the ones from Nuts.com aren't fermented - if you care about such things.


However, currently, I primarily buy lab tested cacao bean powder, 5lb for $38, at WFN.


I wish Wilderness Family Naturals sold whole beans. I'm surprised they don't. I've found it really difficult to filter cacao powder after brewing it, due to the extremely fine particle size. Are you able to brew and filter the WFN cacao powder?



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Dean, that's a negative -- I know better than even to try, ha.  The WFN nibs BTW IMHO are fabulous (available in fermented or non-fermented) for brewing (but not as cheap as the WFN powder) and you don't even have to grind the nibs if you're in a lazy mood/funk.  (That is, I think a good CCD can be improvised re flavor and at least some benis.)  What I do with the nibs if I'm in the mood/funk is hydrate the nibs in a french press (FP) and then smash and release the plunger over the hydrated nibs (while the nibs are at the bottom of the FP in the water in which they were hydrated, using the FP plunger) to work the water in and out of the hydrated nibs.  So if 30g of hydrated nibs are at the bottom of the FP (now weighing, who knows, 100g) and making a floor of cacao bean matter (i.e., a 1 inch thick layer), at the bottom of the FP, I smash the layer using the FP plunger so it releases some of the water in it and becomes a 1/4 inch thick layer, and then retract the FP plunger so the layer rehydrates and becomes a 1 inch thick layer again, then repeat.  (Then I hot brew the nibs to extract more similarly to ways you do with your CCD/coffee prep.)  It makes for a good drink!

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Interesting - bt sounds like a lot of work with the french press to use the nibs that way. I'm curious how using the nibs for brewing works relative to whole beans. Chocolate Alchemy is pretty negative about brewing with cacao nibs. Here is what he says:


 Unfortunately cocoa nibs are not spices and don’t extract the same way. Take a tablespoon of cinnamon or coriander and put it into a quart of boiling water. The result will be a nicely perfumed quart of spice. It’s there. You can smell it and taste it. Do the same thing with cocoa nibs….and you get nothing. Do it with 10 tablespoons of cocoa nibs and you get tinted water. Trying to treat nibs as spices just does not work. They are water insoluble. They are 50% oil and that ‘oil and water don’t mix’ thing is fighting you the entire way. And even if you grind them up, it’s basically the same.


Q: Why do you include husks for brewing cocoa? They must add a good flavor, do they also help with the consistency of the grind?


A: Flavor is the #1 reason. There is virtually no oil in the husk, so you get lots of flavor and color. And it seems to go well with the nib. If you brew the husk alone it’s a rather bland drink. It’s one of those cases that seem like the whole is greater than the parts.


Have you found the nibs creates a good tasting cacao brew? Have you compared it with the results of brewing whole beans? Nibs are usually quite a bit cheaper than whole beans, so I might give it a try if you've found it works well.



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-Indeed, our Chocolate Alchemy friend has got to be spot on.

-I don't know nibs well enough, yet, but I know and highly favor the taste of whole, skin on beans (WSOBs) over nibs in whole-food, out of the bag form.

-While my experience level has not matured far enough to build an opinion on nib CCD vs. WSOB CCD, I am confident that the nib CCD will absolutely be a train wreck compared to the flavor of the WSOB CCD.  

(FYI, I only did the nib CCD a few times (it was ~zero work, seriously; we're talking press release, repeat, a few times) and didn't notice a difference in taste (i.e., at the time I thought, this is quite good, just as good as WSOB CCD) but after that write-up you produced above and my strong intuition/expectation (and re-analyzing memories of making/drinking my WSOB CCD vs my nib CCD) I will absolutely not buy nibs in the future for brewing (re what I perceive re the nib brew of less desirability) because I'm truly a flavor snob when it comes to my "happy cacao," ha.  (FYI2, I didn't plan on buying any nibs anyway... 'never bought 'em before 'cept for samples, not about to start now.))  

-The above is a bit disjointed, bottom line, I really never thougt about it (nibs vs. WSOB) or realized that I don't buy nibs or particularly care for them.  Nibs were just out there, never a topic of interest for me, now after your post and thinking of it, I see better that to be the case and even why.

Edited by Kenton
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i liked to nibble on my 60g whole beans during a 2-3 HOUR feeding window and was very satisfied (see item 6) and not tempted to eat more or to eat anything else (hence, I was able to restrict total calorie intake for the day without deprivation on the 60g beans/day))--the powder is similar in this regard yet the nibs are not as i can inhale the nibs in minutes like cashew or mac nuts, ha, (4) ability to eat raw without heat

I've read that cacao is one of the highest sources of phytic acid -- is there any concern with eating the raw powder / nibs regularly throughout your one meal?  Is this improved with fermented cacao?  I'm currently using Navita's nibs and am debating which direction to go next.

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I switched from eating whole cacao beans to cold-pressed cacao powder basically to reduce my saturated fat.  On the 2-3 hour feeding window, it was/is a 2-3 hr low blood sugar, low food intake feeding window that ends my fasting period for the day.  It was/is not my only feeding time of the day.  I fast for about 14-15 hrs then eat the rest of the 24 hr period of the day.  The beginning of my eating (after the 14-15 hrs) is the bean chomping 2-3 hr period; after that 2-3 hrs I begin eating more meal-like things.

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Sirtuin wrote:



I've read that cacao is one of the highest sources of phytic acid -- is there any concern with eating the raw powder / nibs regularly throughout your one meal? 


Phytate (i.e. Phytic Acid) have had an up and down history - sometimes being touted as healthy and sometimes vilified as an "anti-nutrient". Phytates do indeed impede absorption of minerals like zinc and iron, but dietary phytates (from beans, grains, nuts and seeds) have a positive effect on bone mineral density. In study [1], women with the highest phytate levels in their blood had the highest BMD in their heal, spine and hip, and the lowest 10-year risk of fracture. Phytates also appear protective against cancer, particularly colon cancer


Cacao does appear to be one of the highest sources per gram of phytates (I think the value for brown rice is most definitely a typo, should be 1250 mg/100g):




But the phytate level in cacao is not tremendously higher than other foods (lentils, brown rice, almonds, walnuts) that many of us eat in much larger quantities than we do chocolate products.


Phytates are water soluble, that's one reason why you hear it suggested to soak beans and nuts - in order to reduce their phytate level.


On the flip side, coffee and cacao beans (actually both are seeds), when combined with water, will leech out the phytates into the liquid. So I would recommend that people avoid (and avoid myself) consuming coffee, or chocolate (brewed or otherwise) too close to meals if one is concerned about mineral absorption (which I am).


But it doesn't seem from the evidence on the positive effects on bone health or cancer risk that phytates should be avoided altogether - quite the contrary in fact.





[1] Eur J Nutr. 2013 Mar;52(2):717-26. doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0377-6. Epub 2012 May


Protective effect of myo-inositol hexaphosphate (phytate) on bone mass loss in
postmenopausal women.

López-González AA(1), Grases F, Monroy N, Marí B, Vicente-Herrero MT, Tur F,
Perelló J.

Author information:
(1)Servicio de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales de GESMA (Gestión Sanitaria de
Mallorca), Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

INTRODUCTION: The objective of this paper was to evaluate the relationship
between urinary concentrations of InsP6, bone mass loss and risk fracture in
postmenopausal women.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 157 postmenopausal women were included in the
study: 70 had low (≤0.76 μM), 42 intermediate (0.76-1.42 μM) and 45 high (≥1.42
μM) urinary phytate concentrations. Densitometry values for neck were measured at
enrollment and after 12 months (lumbar spine and femoral neck), and 10-year risk
fracture was calculated using the tool FRAX(®).
RESULTS: Individuals with low InsP6 levels had significantly greater bone mass
loss in the lumbar spine (3.08 ± 0.65 % vs. 0.43 ± 0.55 %) than did those with
high phytate levels. Moreover, a significantly greater percentage of women with
low than with high InsP6 levels showed more than 2 % of bone mass loss in the
lumbar spine (55.6 vs. 20.7 %). The 10-year fracture probability was also
significantly higher in the low-phytate group compared to the high-phytate group,
both in hip (0.37 ± 0.06 % vs 0.18 ± 0.04 %) and major osteoporotic fracture
(2.45 ± 0.24 % vs 1.83 ± 0.11 %).
DISCUSSION: It can be concluded that high urinary phytate concentrations are
correlated with reduced bone mass loss in lumbar spine over 12 months and with
reduced 10-year probability of hip and major osteoporotic fracture, indicating
that increased phytate consumption can prevent development of osteoporosis.

PMID: 22614760

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On the topic of phytates in cacao, I reread this article at Dr. Greger's nutritionfacts.org about cadmium, and its reduced bioavailability when coming from plant sources, relative to animal sources like seafood and organ meat, or other unhealthy sources like cigarette smoke.


Interestingly, it talks about how phytates in plant foods may at least in part be the reason for reduced absorption of toxic heavy metals like cadmium and lead relative animal foods or other sources. So ironically, the high level of phytates in cacao products (which some consider detrimental), may actually be beneficial, by counteracting the harmful effects of that other component of cacao people worry about - namely heavy metals like cadmium and lead.



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From Mike's blog post about the Kuna:


It’s important to note that the cocoa ingested by the Kuna is naturally very rich in a specific subclass of flavonoids known as flavanols, including epicatechin, catechin, and flavanol-based oligomers known as procyanidins (Chevaux et. al 2001, Fisher and Hollenberg 2005). Kuna cocoa beans provide 3000 mg/100g flavanols. Kuna cocoa powder provides less (flavanols are lost during the fermentation process), at ~2000 mg/100g cocoa. In contrast, 6 commercially available cocoa powders /cocoa drinks didn’t exceed 150 mg flavanols/100g cocoa (Fisher and Hollenberg 2005). High levels of flavanol have been shown to reduce risk of death from coronary artery disease by as much as 58% (Mukamal et al. 2002).


Here is a neat video of the process the Kuna use to brew their chocolate.

I just went back over these articles and watched the video -- great stuff.


Now, in the article it mentions the Kuna beverage uses unfermented cocoa.  In the video, it mentions the Kuna beverage uses fermented cocoa.  Which is it?  (Which one tastes better?)

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My guess is that the Kuna fermented (likely it was easier).  Realistically, the Kuna may do both ways.  Now, on taste, for raw skin-on cacao beans, I much prefer the taste of unfermented over fermented cacao beans--to me, the former tastes unlike anything (the closest analogy being maybe a very, very light roasted coffee brewed strong ('kind of acidic and wine-y tasting)).  Fermented taste much more LIKE CHOCOLATE (with the bean having a dark brown interior) whereas nonfermented does not (with the bean insides sometimes having a lighter brown or, often, to my best liking, a purple color). The above is for raw whole skin on beans; I cannot taste much of a difference for raw powder or raw nibs. The best raw, whole skin on fermented cacao beans I've had are http://www.naturalzing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=348.  On coffee, I definitely cannot yet taste a difference between fermented/unfermented.  I choose unfermented and fortuitously just learned that my long term source of beans prepares them (meticulously) for highest nutrition using a non-fermentation process.  That coffee, the unfermented one I drink, is http://www.amazon.com/Rewards-Breakfast-Ground-Coffee-Ounces/dp/B006L6XMAM?tag=duckduckgo-d-20.  Hence, I'm an unfermented coffee drinker, but, like with cacao, it seems most people would choose and like the taste better of fermented coffee beans.

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Kenton is right about taste - fermenting cacao beans brings out the chocolate flavor. Whether you prefer the more chocolatey flavor of fermented beans or the flavor of unfermented beans like Kenton, is a matter of taste. I personally (like most people I think) prefer the more chocolaty flavor. 


But as for the level of healthy flavanols, it looks pretty clear from this study [1] by chocolate researchers at Hershey (I'd like that job  :)xyz), that fermentation greatly reduces the levels of the two most important flavanols in cacao -  Epicatechin (86-95% reduction) and catechin (80-89% reduction), in multiple samples of beans from both Ivory Coast and Papua New Guinea. Here is the data from Table 3 of the full text of the paper:




Roasting has an interesting effect on these two flavanols - dramatically further decreasing epicatechin and raising catechin in the beans. Here is the graph for the Ivory Coast beans from the paper of epicatechin and catechin as a function of roasting temperature:




It looks to me like 90-100C (~200F) is a pretty good compromise for anyone wanting to roast their own at home.


The dutch processing of chocolate further reduces the flavanol content quite dramatically by a further 90% or more. So stay away from dutch processed cocoa powder if you want to maximize flavanols.


Here is a good summary graph of the effects of the various stages of processing of cacao on the epicatechin and catechin content of cacao products. The scaling is unfortunate, since epicatechin is so much more abundant in absolute terms than catechin but both are reduced by a similar magnitude by fermenting - the change is just squashed for catechin in the graph. 




While this looks like pretty definitive data in favor of unfermented cacao beans for maximizing flavanols - perhaps it isn't that cut and dry. I emailed John at Chocolate Alchemy to inquire if they sold unfermented beans. Here was his response:


No, I find unfermented beans unsuitable for chocolate making.  And they taste pretty bad.  I can empathize with maximizing flavanol content, but not at the price of having to eat something nasty.  And you are missing some data by reading only an abstract.  I've seen full data of these kind of studies and in SOME cases fermentation decreased flavonal content greatly, but in many cases it was much much less.  And the correlation between fermentation was not high, meaning it happened in some beans but not in others and in virtually no predictable manner.
John Nanci
Founding Alchemist
Chocolate Alchemy


I corrected his erroneous assumption that I only read the abstract, and sent him the full paper showing that the flavanol content was greatly reduced by fermentation across several samples of beans from different countries. I asked if he has published evidence to the contrary he can point me to - i.e. that fermentation doesn't (always) greatly diminish flavanol content. I haven't heard back from him yet but will share what I hear if relevant.


He does have a long discussion about so-called 'raw' chocolate products on his website. Here is an interesting passage on the potential risks associated with eating raw (unroasted) cacao beans:


Since any genuinely raw chocolate must be made from beans that are not roasted (though they might be dried further at low temperatures), some people are concerned about pathogens in the unroasted beans, including Salmonella. Www.gardenislandchocolate.com quotes Dr. Keith Warriner, a food microbiologist at Canada’s University of Guelph: “Because chocolate is high in fat it protects Salmonella from environmental stress and stomach acid…if chocolate does become contaminated, Salmonella survives longer and only needs to be present in low numbers to survive passage through the stomach.”
Colin Gasko (www.roguechocolatier.com) tells me that people wouldn’t want to eat raw chocolate if they saw the way cacao beans were treated in countries where they’re grown. He has seen beans stored outdoors, by the side of the road, or under other decidedly non-hygienic conditions, such as sharing an area with chickens, who walk over and/or defecate on them.


If cacao beans do become contaminated, even a thorough cleaning and winnowing of beans might not be sufficient to remove pathogens from them, something else that higher-heat roasting can accomplish. Not everyone shares these apprehensions; Samantha Madell (www.tava.com.au) is a chocolate maker in Australia who has done considerable research into this issue, and she has found no occurrences of raw chocolate causing salmonella poisoning. Her belief is that “chocolate products typically become dangerous when non-cocoa ingredients, such as egg and dairy products, are added to them”. 


So while raw, unfermented cacao beans may have the highest flavanol content, there may be health / safety advantages, not to mention taste advantages, for fermented and roasted beans.


So what are we to do? I'm going to do what I normally do in this kind of situation when it comes to food - until I see definitive advantages or risks of one form of a food over others, I take a 'both/and' attitude. I've ordered some roasted and some unroasted fermented beans from Chocolate Alchemy, along with some unfermented & unroasted beans from Nuts.com (here is a nearly unfermented alternative to Nuts.com from Kenton). I'll grind them all and mix them together to brew my cacao beverage.






[1] J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Oct 13;58(19):10518-27. doi: 10.1021/jf102391q.

Impact of fermentation, drying, roasting, and Dutch processing on epicatechin and
catechin content of cacao beans and cocoa ingredients.

Payne MJ(1), Hurst WJ, Miller KB, Rank C, Stuart DA.

Author information:
(1)Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition, Hershey Technical Center, 1025 Reese
Avenue, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033-0805, USA.



Low molecular weight flavan-3-ols are thought to be responsible, in part, for the
cardiovascular benefits associated with cocoa powder and dark chocolate. The
levels of epicatechin and catechin were determined in raw and conventionally
fermented cacao beans and during conventional processing, which included drying,
roasting, and Dutch (alkali) processing. Unripe cacao beans had 29% higher levels
of epicatechin and the same level of catechin compared to fully ripe beans.
Drying had minimal effect on the epicatechin and catechin levels. Substantial
decreases (>80%) in catechin and epicatechin levels were observed in fermented
versus unfermented beans. When both Ivory Coast and Papua New Guinea beans were
subjected to roasting under controlled conditions, there was a distinct loss of
epicatechin when bean temperatures exceeded 70 °C. When cacao beans were roasted
to 120 °C, the catechin level in beans increased by 696% in unfermented beans, by
650% in Ivory Coast beans, and by 640% in Papua New Guinea fermented beans
compared to the same unroasted beans. These results suggest that roasting in
excess of 70 °C generates significant amounts of (-)-catechin, probably due to
epimerization of (-)-epicatechin. Compared to natural cocoa powders, Dutch
processing caused a loss in both epicatechin (up to 98%) and catechin (up to
80%). The epicatechin/catechin ratio is proposed as a useful and sensitive
indicator for the processing history of cacao beans.

PMID: 20843086

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Very nice work, and agreed.  This is spot on precisely why I choose non-fermented.  I discovered its health benefits and all of a sudden began liking the taste.  (Things that I think are nutritious often taste better; for my twin brother it's the opposite!)  Per the above post, I love the purple-inside ones best; the nuts.com beans are good especially in bulk (have bought 20-30lbs through the years), but not good enough to have the purple insides like the naturalzing.com beans (expensive but the best; IMO less fermented than nuts.com beans based on appearance/taste and especially based on discussions with buyers of both companies but this is approaching splitting hairs or splitting beans).

Edited by Kenton
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Unfortunately, I apparently offended John from Chocolate Alchemy by posting his (he presumed private) email to me about the reason they don't sell unfermented beans (see above - mostly due to the bad taste of unfermented beans). I thought it was an innocuous customer support response that he wouldn't mind me sharing, but apparently not. Live and learn...


So I'm not expecting a response from him anymore with evidence to refute the study (PMID: 20843086) I posted showing fermentation appears to greatly reduces flavanol contents in cacao beans.



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While researching the stuff on fermentation and flavanol content, I came across this fascinating paper [1] by the same set of Hershey researchers. They found that over the period of several years, the level of flavanols in various chocolate products, including (Hershey brand) bars and cocoa powders was quite stable when stored at normal ambient indoor temperatures.


Even more astonishing, they tested cocoa powder from 1982 and 1929, and cacao beans from 1893, and found:


The results with 27- and 80-year old cocoa powders and with the 116 year old cocoa
beans indicate that the antioxidant activity and the levels of the small
molecular weight flavan-3-ols remain essentially the same over time.


So it looks like cacao products may be one of the few foods you can buy in bulk and not worry about their losing important nutrients over time!





[1] J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Oct 28;57(20):9547-50. doi: 10.1021/jf901457s.

Stability of cocoa antioxidants and flavan-3-ols over time.

Hurst WJ(1), Payne MJ, Miller KB, Stuart DA.


Author information:
(1)The Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition, P.O. Box 805, Hershey,
Pennsylvania 17033-0805, USA. whurst@hersheys.com


Free full text: http://worldcocoafoundation.org/wp-content/files_mf/hurst200963.pdf

Several recent reports have been published indicating that the antioxidant
activity of olive oil and tea leaves is not stable over product shelf lives of
about one year. We have measured the antioxidant activity, total polyphenols,
flavan-3-ols monomers, and procyanidin levels in milk and dark chocolate, in
cocoa powder, and in cocoa beans. Results show that for the cocoa products
studied, antioxidant activity, and flavan-3-ol levels are stable over typical
shelf lives of one year under controlled storage and over 2 years in ambient
storage in the laboratory. We also show that 80 year old cocoa powder and 116
year old cocoa beans still show very high levels of antioxidant activity and
flavan-3-ol content.

PMID: 20560624

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~Glad to hear that, having eaten "2 yrs. past best-by date" Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder yrs. ago.  

~ZNatural Foods has tested whole skin on beans: http://www.znaturalfoods.com/Cacao-Beans-Unpeeled-Organic-Raw (Cd < .5 ppm). Their cacao beans are quite good/tasty consistent with their brand.  The fermentation ranges from medium, to light, to ~ zero; I often ask for a picture of their current inventory to discern the fermentation level.

Edited by Kenton
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I received my order of fermented and fermented+roasted cacao beans from ChocolateAlchemy today. I tasted a few of the roasted ones (delicious!) before squirrelling them away to avoid overindulging...


Here is a photo, comparing Nuts.com unfermented cacao beans from Ecuador (left), fermented but unroasted Peruvian beans from Chocolate Alchemy (middle), and the same type of fermented Peruvian beans but also roasted (right).




As you can see (through the package window), the unfermented Nuts.com beans are very pale - they look like big almonds. The fermented but unroasted beans in the middle are a lot darker, and the roasted beans on the right are slightly darker still and a more uniform dark color.


From a taste perspective, I find roasted > fermented > unfermented. But from a polyphenol content perspective, unfermented >> fermented > roasted. So I plan to grind a combination of all three for brewing purposes.



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Hi Dean and Kenton!


And Kenton, it's great hearing from you again!


I get the benefits of chocolate by drinking Hershey's cocoa.


However, as has been noted by ALL on this thread, there is the possible concern of heavy metal contamination; as noted in Dean's posts (thanks Dean :)xyz), this is probably reduced if the plant residue (in this case, all of the cocoa bean except for the cocoa powder) is removed.


Nevertheless, I had this to think about -- and, also, my main protein source is not vegan -- it's from fish.  The consumption of fish raises the spectre of mercury contamination.


To keep this under control,I avoid large, top-of-the-foodchain fish -- such as Ahi Tuna -- which are the highest in mercury content.


However, having two possible sources of heavy metal contamination, I asked my CR-friendly Nephrologist (who writes the requests for my (approx) semiannual bloodwork and urine work -- to write a script to test for heavy metals in urine.


The result was interesting:  Urine Hg, Pb, etc. were vanishingly low.  BUT --- surprise! --- urinary Arsenic was high normal!  (The figure was well within the acceptable range -- but higher than the 50'th percentile).  Neither Dr. Taylor (my nephrologist) nor I have any idea why.




  -- Saul

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