Alkalized cacao powder, often referred to as “Dutch-process” or”Dutched” cacao powder, differs from raw, or natural, cacao powder due to the production process. In alkalized cacao powder, the cocoa beans are washed in an alkaline solution of potassium carbonate. This process neutralizes the acidity in the beans which, in turn, makes the powder neutral.
In general, cacao is considered to be a rich source of antioxidants such as procyanidins and flavanoids, which may impart anti-aging properties. Cacao also contains a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. Cacao is a stimulant and contains the compounds theobromine and caffeine. The beans contain between 0.1% and 0.7% caffeine
The cacao tree is native to the Americas. It originated in Central America and parts of Mexico. More than 5,000 years ago, it was consumed by pre-Columbian cultures along the Yucatán, including the Mayans, and as far back as Olmeca civilization in spiritual ceremonies.
The cacao bean was a common currency throughout Meso-america before the Spanish conquest.
Because of the neutrality in alkalized cacao powder, it does not react with baking soda. The alkalizing process also makes cacao darker in color, mellow in flavor, and easily dissolvable. Compared to raw cacao powder, alkalized cacao is more consumer-friendly, making it an excellent private label option to sell directly to consumers. Cacao powder can be used in place of chocolate in drinks as well as baked goods, adding a rich taste and the nutritious benefits of chocolate with less sugar and fat.
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