The Chocolate Life

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Working and selling our confections in the Bay Area I get a lot of people coming up to me and asking if my chocolate is raw. Mostly these types are more interested in the health benefits of chocolate- taste is secondary. When I tell them, no it is roasted, they would seem to assume that it is less heathy.

Generally I would, feeling a little slighted, compare chocolate to coffee - you really wouldn't want to drink a cup of coffee made from unroasted beans, I say. But I believe, and I am in the process of comparing controlled batches of similar beans roasted and unroasted, that there might not be such a difference in flavor between 'raw' and roasted cacao beans as there is in coffee.

Recently, at a San Francisco chocolate event, I overheard the people at the Xocai booth telling the public that the heathful anti-oxidants in chocolate are destroyed by roasting, which is clearly not the case when you look at ORAC ratings. However I would be very interested to hear any thoughts on actually how much of a change roasting makes, and any references to studies on this. Raw chocolate has not been cooked past 114 degreesF I believe, does it taste as good?......

Tags: ORAC, antioxidant, raw, roasting

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Well, I have just finished reading all the fascinating posts, fallacious and fact-filled on the 'Raw chocolate-- what is it really?' and Xocai fora and much of my curiousity is now sated!
Health benefits have been explored in great detail - what a great site this is.
I conclude that terminology and semantic differences will extend this discussion. But I would still love to see a controlled study on chemical contents and changes made using different methods of bean processing, from fermenting and drying to roasting and grinding.
I appreciate what Steve is trying to do at Sacred Chocolate as much as I value the issues raised by questioning skeptics.
Glad to be part of such an informed group.
It is such a complicated topic... I still think people who are looking to chocolate as health food are either missing the point or are in need of something other than flavor to market on.
When you say "Raw chocolate has not been cooked past 114 degreesF," are you talking about fermentation or roasting?
Having read more about the subject it seems that the accepted temp limit, in order to be considered raw, is below from 114 degreesF to 122. Some people will argue, and I tend to agree, that the fermentation needed to bring out the best flavors will take the beans up to as much as 160 degreesF. Then roasting of course will take it to a temp. that the raw foodists believe destroys some health benefits.
Here you have to weigh the apparent loss in health value with the potential inability to develop the best taste.
To many gourmet 'tasteurs' the 'Raw' label has become a marketing tool.
I am not sure how others are defining these terms, but for the record, when I say "cooked" I am referring to "roasting". I am using the terms "cooked" and "roasting" as synonyms through out this entire forum. In my educated opinion, the antioxidant properties are pretty stable in the cacao bean through fermentation temperatures as high as 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sacred Steve
Personally, I wouldn't touch "raw" chocolate with a 10 foot pole. Cacau comes from third world countries, and in those countries salmonella and ecoli are rampant. Pathogens such a Salmonella and Ecoli require temperatures in excess of 165 degrees F to kill them, and while the cacau is a dry product which in itself does not promote growth of the bacteria, it certainly doesn't stop the bacteria from resting on the outside or being transferred to the beans by way of cross contamination.

All it takes is one single incident for the health department to come in and close your business down until the problem is fixed. However in the public's eyes the problem is NEVER fixed.

I know there are factories that steam clean the beans before processing them further, but if I remember correctly in the literature I've read, they also roast them after cleaning them.

I don't know.... As far as I'm concerned when it comes to public safety, in my opinion there simply isn't any compromise.
Just thought I would post this recent article by a modern expert on the subject of raw foods. This is the reason I STRIVE to keep Sacred Chocolate as RAW as possible...

The Energy of Live Foods by Dr Sir Gabriel Cousens M.D., M.D. (H) D.D.

There is a tremendous amount of extra levels of energy in live foods. One of the studies that most demonstrates this was done in Russia by Dr. Israel Breckman. The experiment was simple. He fed the same mice cooked food and live-food at different times. This was the exact same food and the exact same mice, the only difference was, the food was either cooked or uncooked. He measured the amount of energy and endurance the mice had when they were eating only live foods, and when eating the exact same amounts of food in its cooked state. The mice had three times more energy and endurance on the live-food than when they were eating cooked food. If nutrition were a simple matter of calories, there should not be any difference in endurance and power between eating the live and the cooked food. However, there clearly was a difference in the effect. This is because foods are not simply calories. This calorie paradigm, developed in 1789, is completely out of date, even though it is still being used by people in the nutritional sciences. What is the difference?

Food has subtle nutrients, general nutrients, electrical energies, phytonutrients, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. The electrical potential for our tissues and cells is a direct result of the liveliness of our cells. Live foods enhance the electrical potential in our cells, between the cells, at the interface of the cell membranes, and at the interface of the cells with the microcapulary electrical charges. When cells have the proper microelectrical potential, they have the power to rid themselves of toxins and maintain their selective capacity to bring appropriate nutrients, oxygen, and hydrogen into the cell, into the nucleus of the cell, as well as to feed the mitochondria. This helps to maintain, repair, and activate the DNA. Professor Hans Eppinger, who was the chief medical director of the first medical clinic at the University of Vienna, found that a live-food diet specifically raised the microelectrical potential throughout the body. He discovered that a live-food diet increases selective capacity of the cells by increasing their electrical potential between the tissue cells and the capillary cells. He saw that live-food significantly improves the intra and extracellular excretion of toxins, as well as absorption of nutrients. He and his co-workers concluded that live foods were the only type of food that could restore microelectrical potential to the tissues. In essence we can say that by restoring electrical potential to cells, live-food rejuvenates the life force and health of the organism.
Hi Samantha, As you may recall, I already defined the difference between raw and live in another post in a different thread. If you email Dr. Cousens at and ask him the bio-electrical differences between raw and live food he most likely will tell you that live food is higher in bio-electrical potency than raw food, and in the same breath, he will most likely tell you that raw food is more bio-electrically potent than cooked or roasted food. In other words, Raw Broccoli is more potent than cooked Broccoli for example. In my post above, I did not make any claim that Sacred Chocolate is in any way live. The claim that Sacred Chocolate is making is that it is raw, which in my case is defined as chocolate that is produced by NOT cooking or roasting the cacao bean in any way and then turning that raw cacao bean into raw chocolate at low temperature, which in our case is about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This is sort of the hierarchy: LIVE-RAW-COOKED. Hope that clarifies things.

Sacred Steve
We are striving. I guess you just don't get it, which is fine.
Matt Monarch just interviewed Gabriel Cousens on Youtube (6 or 7 part series or so). At around part 5 or 6 Dr. Cousens SPECIFICALLY talks about RAW chocolate and even SACRED CHOCOLATE. I will leave it to you to google. You will find what he says interesting I think. Dr. Cousens did some special energy tests on certain flavors of Sacred Chocolate and was very impressed. You will need to contact him directly to find out the nature of those tests. As a result, he contracted with us to make several very specially formulated chocolates just for his Rejuvenation Center. All of the Sacred Chocolate we are curently supplying his center either has Inulin and/or Stevia and/or Erythritol as a sweetener.
It's amusing how "against" raw chocolate you are! I don't have to defend Dr. Cousens in any way. His amazing career as a doctor and scientist speaks for itself.
Sacred Steve
I have since clarified that. :-) Thanks for being vigilant!
My claim is that RAW chocolate is significantly higher in antioxidants than traditionally cooked or roasted chocolate. I also claim that it is PROBABLY higher in naturally occuring ENZYMES as well. ;-)
Sacred Steve

Again - PLEASE cite your references and INCLUDE them in your posts rather than forcing us to do the homework. You found the YouTube videos ... make it easy for us to see them, too. DON'T LEAVE IT TO US TO GOOGLE. I personally find it to be inconsiderate and disrespectful of our time. (Please note that the videos are unavailable - the videos have been removed by Matt for some unstated reason.)

As an engineer, I think you'd be interested in the nature of the energy tests you say Cousens has performed on your chocolate. Plus, I think that it's incumbent upon you to substantiate the claims you are making, rather than forcing us to follow up for you. I find this approach of yours to be the single most frustrating aspect of your contributions and it is one of the reasons that people continue to be skeptical. Assume that I want to learn the science and engineering of this and that I am sympathetic to the basic stance that there is some value in a diet that includes raw and minimally processed foods. I want to understand and because you are making some specific claims I want you to help me understand, not force me to re-do the research you've already done.

A question about the erythritol you use. While erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, most that is available commercially is produced by fermenting glucose with the yeast Moniliella pollinis. Does your producer certify that this meets raw temperature standards? Overall, I am interested in claims for any sweetener that claims to be raw (or for which claims for being raw are made) - most are not.

:: Clay
I am not claiming that any sweetener we are using is raw. Although in theory it is possible, there are currently no commercially available raw sweeteners except honey. Even low temperature processed Agave makers use enzymes to strip the naturally occuring enzymes present that would cause it to ferment, which sort of defeats one of the main purposes of raw--enzyme retention. Also, you don't need to continue to say that I am an engineer. It sounds manipulating to me.
Clay, I hear your frustration. Please accept my apology for not taking the time to hand everything to everybody on a platter. I know you are sympathetic since you are doing an event with another Raw Chocolate Maker in Belize. I appreciate that. I just don't have the time. I contribute where I can. But, i can't make this a full or part time job, unless you want to pay me for it? Can you at least acknowledge me for probably contributing more on the subject of raw chocolate than most? :-)
Sacred Steve


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