I recently read a bit about cocoa shell infusions and I was wondering if anyone on this forum had any experience or comments about this? I've heard about local breweries and chocolate makers teaming up to make beer with the cocoa shells and now I have read about drinks made from infusing the cocoa shells in milk, etc. After picking through bags of cocoa beans and finding all sorts of stuff (hair, etc.) I can't imagine wanting to drink an infusion made of the shells. Will someone enlighten me?
It's probably the last thing you want to do. Shells are where most of the mycotoxins, aflatoxins, lead, salmonella, and bad things (tm) collect on the bean. highly discouraged.
Thanks Sebastian. I guess people on The Chocolate Life aren't into cocoa shell infusions either.
Yeah, we have a funny aversion to kidney failure and heavy metal poisoning. Odd collection of birds we have here.
By shell, I think you mean the husk of the cacao nib, and not the outside of the pod.
My understanding is that cocoa husk concentrates a bunch of the stuff you don't want in chocolate, including lead from the environment.
Apparently the husk also have high concentrations of the various polyphenols that are proposed to provide the health benefits of chocolate. The shell also quite high in fiber.
Barry-Callebaut has a process where they extensively wash and sterilize the husk to provide cacao based fiber.
Several 'brewing cocoa' products are out there; they are essentially ground nib with the husk left in; I've tried this brewed like coffee and rather like it. I try not to think too much about heavy metals content :)
Not so much polyphenols in the shell, there's a ton of fiber, and a good bit of theobromine. I know BC's process quite well. While it's better in principle than chewing up broken mercury thermometers, it was never commercially viable and - while i'm not as close to that as i used to be- i'm pretty sure it's no longer being pursued by them. Natra tried a whole bean powder - but again for the same safety reasons, it never became commercially viable. And while you're trying to forget about the heavy metals, try to forget about the aflatoxins as well (there's only 4 of them, so it's not so bad...). For giggles sometime, go into a dark room and shine a blacklight onto your cocoa shells to see how much fluorescence you get..