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Guys,

what is your take on natural cocoa butter vs deodorized cocoa butter in the recipe?  Would natural fresh pressed cocoa butter add organoleptic properties to chocolate that could be really sensed? 

Both, natural and deodorized butters are with no flavor just one is with aroma. So I wonder if it worth investing in expensive cocoa butter press for chocolate manufacturing? Is the result worth the hustle?

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Domantas:

In the opinion of many, it is impossible to make a "true" single-origin chocolate if the cocoa butter is pressed from beans that are different from the beans used to make the chocolate; it doesn't matter if the butter is deodorized or undeodorized from that perspective.

One reason that some chocolate makers give as a reason for not using added deodorized cocoa butter is that it "dilutes" the flavor of the finished chocolate. Maybe ... if you're adding a lot of cocoa butter. I haven't seen many taste tests to prove this definitively when the manufacturer is only adding a couple of percent to decrease viscosity.

The argument against using an undeodorized cocoa butter is that the flavors and aromas are different from the beans used to make the chocolate, so you have a blending issue ... does the flavor of the cocoa butter affect the flavor of the chocolate, positively, or negatively? Again, I have never taken part in a definitive taste test one way or another, but part of the answer depends on how much cocoa butter is being added.

I know of several small producers who have purchased cocoa butter presses made in South Korea and reported that they are satisfied with the production throughput and quality. The Type B press linked to is about US$11,000 ex-warehouse.

I know of an Italian-made two-pot press, but it costs over US$70,000. At that price I think you'd have a hard time justifying the investment giving the level of production you are at.

Clay,

thank you for detailed input! 

I agree on the argument of omitting different origin cocoa butter while creating single origin chocolates. This is of the most importance if you use natural cocoa butter in the recipe. We don't want the flavors to mess up between each other.

On the other hand, deodorized butter, lecithin as well as white sugar plays more like a technical role. They do not add much of a flavor nor aroma. So, many chocolate makers go this route and add flavorless ingredients to not to cover up the cocoa bean. 

In my opinion, adding natural (single origin pressed - same origin as cocoa beans) cocoa butter should provide extra aroma although there should not be any influence to flavor in general as butter has no flavor. So I still come back to this philosophical question, if the cocoa butter press is a necessary piece of equipment.. I see different point of views while speaking with different people.

Domantas:

I've tasted a fair amount undeodorized cocoa butter and I can tell you from my experience that the butter does have a taste of its own and it depends on the recipe and other factors whether the taste and aromas of the undeodorized cocoa butter have any effect on the finished flavor and aroma of the finished chocolate. You would have to experiment to find this out.

As I pointed out in my response to Brian, I personally don't think (and I actively advocate for this view) that you can't call a chocolate made with beans from one origin and butter from another origin as "single-origin."

Another thing to consider in the butter debate is that butters from different regions have different ratios of the fatty acids that make up the triglyceride structure. This leads to different melting points (or hardnesses). If the butter you are adding has a different melting point from the butter in the beans you're using, this blending of fat melting points can result in a chocolate with a very different texture than a chocolate made from beans and butter from the same location or the same melting point. Sometimes this is a bad thing as the mixing process (an effect called eutectics) can lead to textures that are not desirable. So - if you are adding deodorized cocoa butter, take a close look at the hardness of the butter and try to find a match for the butter in the beans you're using.

Finally (for this post anyway), the vast majority of chocolate makers (small and large) do not press their own butter or use undeodorized cocoa butter, if they use butter at all. So, no, a butter press is not an absolutely necessary piece of equipment.

Hi Clay, I just wanted to mention that per the wishes of a client I have made chocolate using our pure nacional beans and the only thing available here at the moment - non deodorized cocoa butter from a domestic peru source.  You must know as well as I do that the beans used in pressing butter are often if not almost always lower quality and poorly fermented and selected.  the defects of the butter were clearly evident in the chocolate.  in my grand experience of 1 time doing it, it is absolutely crucial to use deodorized cocoa butter or the vinegar acid and fermentation defects in the beans used for butter will dominate the flavor of the chocolate

Brian - 

Shawn Askinosie, among a very small handful of other craft chocolate makers, has a cocoa butter press and he presses butter and powder from the same beans used to make the chocolate, after roasting and grinding. So, your argument does not hold up in these specific cases.

However, yes, in general I have to agree with you. Most butter is pressed from beans of very low quality - not only not fermented, but also probably moldy and mildewed and maybe even rancid. The butter is pressed from liquor that is from beans that have not been roasted. Therefore the deodorizing process is absolutely necessary in order to be able to make a butter that does not have the defects you describe.

That said, I still stand by my point, which is that if someone is making a "single-origin" chocolate from beans grown in Peru and using cocoa butter made from beans grown in Ghana it's not a "single" origin chocolate.

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