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So, I have noticed a recent upsurge in "raw" chocolate products. A couple I have tried have been tasty. But I don't understand what makes raw chocolate raw. Are the beans just not roasted? And if not what is done with them. Why would leaving chocolate "raw" be advantageous? Is it healthier and why? Inquiring minds want to know....

Tags: chocolate, health, raw

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Steve: Apparently we have reached another Ning inanity - the limit of nesting. So I have to reply to my reply not to yours.

The analysis you refer to indicates .011 grams (11 thousandths of a gram) per 100 grams of chocolate and .0051 grams (51 ten-thousandths of a gram) per approximately 45 gram serving (calculated, not stated). I am sorry here, but I don't see a 1% increase in 51 ten-thousandths of a gram as either clinically meaningful or statistically significant - especially when this report does not indicaate that the cacao was the source of the trans-fats (because the chocolate sample you reference was flavored, not pure chocolate).

This is one sample of one recipe and I am going to assume that it's not representative of all bean types worldwide because they are not all present in this sample. I have been told that the chemical structure of cocoa butter varies widely from region to region (I know this empirically from personal experience), so do you have a way of knowing if the trans-fats level in this one sample is reflective of anything other than this one sample? I don't think you just can't generalize to all chocolates from this one sample.
Hi Clay, responding to your below question, I don't have the funds to conduct a worldwide lab study of trans fats in cacao, boring anyway. But, to remain purely logical, we still can't assume that trans fats do not exist in cacao from all the evidence thus provided in this forum. I just point to one example of its existence in the raw state. The only ingredients in that lab analysis were: raw cacao, maple sugar, and raw low temperature dehydrated ginger root. The ginger root is devoid of trans fats to the best of my research. It also represents an EXTREMELY small percentage of the overall constituents.
Sacred Steve
You have to mix the beans before the temperature rise occurs and keep mixing in order to keep the temperature low. This results in a low temperature fermentation.
I stand corrected! Sacred Chocolate has negligible trans fatty acids! Our claim is within the legal limits of the Food Laws of the USDA and FDA. Sorry if I have mislead you.

Regarding the existance of trans fats in cacao, nobody has supplied any evidence to the contrary. My lab evidence is stronger than any other evidence supplied in this forum to date regarding the issue of trans fats in cacao and from heating oils/fats from the washington post article. Trans Fats are produced by heat, even though the increase is very small. Whether or not that is the case with cacao, nobody knows, but when it comes to people's health and what they put in their body, I personally would rather err on the side of caution than to say otherwise. I like to be conservative. Please forgive me on my trans fat statement!

We are all at a stalemate on this issue until further lab testing is done.

To me personally, this data collection is boring since I am a chocolate maker and not a lab technician.

My goal is to educate people on the benefits of raw chocolate. I am a strong believer that raw chocolate is much healthier for people than cooked chocolate based on the research I have personally done. I have been deeply involved in raw foods since 1993.

You can call this all pure farce if you wish, I have no objection and everybody has the right to their own opinion!

Sacred Steve
It is true that over roasting cacao beans can bring down the nutritional benefits. However, I make a product that has extremely dark roasted cacao, probably more so than any other cacao product, and we even brew the product and it still had an ORAC score twice that of blueberries. It also still had large amounts of magnesium and PEA. Also, to clear up the naming of the bean from Ecuador. The reason for the misunderstanding of the bean name is that they are trying to literally translate it. It should be "Aroma Nacional desde Rio Arriba" The bean classification is Nacional, they call it Aroma because of its unique aroma and it was classically grown near the Arriba river.
Thanks for the clarification Eric! I don't speak Spanish.
What type of product do you make? I would love to see the report!
Sacred Steve
It should also be mentioned that blueberries are surprisingly low in ORAC value. I have seen scores ranging anywhere from 30 to about 50 depending on how they are grown.
Is Chocolate "Raw"?

Chocolate is a fermented food.

A lot of people have been asking if Garden Island Chocolate is Raw. My answer is, "there is no such thing as Raw chocolate", leads to only more questions, hence this simple blog. The white pulp that surrounds the beans in the pod is most definatley raw and a delicious refreshing treat. The beans eaten straight from the pod are raw but rather bitter and astringent, the health benefits from choking down some wet viable cacao seeds is yet to be investigated. Raw food is all food cooked below 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit), as defined by Wikipedia. The fermentation process in cacao generates temperatures as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. A lot of foods are fermented, so can you eat fermented food and still be a raw foodest? That all depends on who you ask. In actuallity the cacao seeds are not fermented, its the white mucilaginous pulp that surrounds the beans that are fermented. The pulp disappears completely, leaving only the dead heated seeds. The seeds are then dried and become known as 'beans', ready for the chocolate factory. Poor fermentation can have serious concequences. If fermentation stops completely, the beans will be 'slaty' and unable to produce quality chocolate. Short fermentation prevents flavor precursors developing and bitterness and astringency reducing. Too much fermentation develops undesirable flavor characteristics, or 'off-flavors', when the beans are roasted. A pure criollo only requires a 3 day ferment reaching 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) for only about an hour after each days oxygenation or turning of the beans. Cacao beans can have flavor development if not fermented, but usually these beans are roasted to bring out some flavor. The unfermented, unroasted beans usually have an off sour taste that when made into chocolate are quite bad. As for "Raw" cacao powder, the Broma process uses less heat and pressure then the hydraulic press. Cocoa liquor pressing if definitely not "Raw". The chocolate used in this process generally comes from moldy beans that are roasted at a high temperature. The liquid cocoa liquor is stored in large storage tanks where it is kept at a temperature of about 70°C to ensure that the liquor remains liquid. From there the liquor is pumped to the liquor conditioning tanks mounted on each press, where the product is ‘prepared’ to achieve optimum conditions when it is pressed into cocoa butter and cocoa cake.The liquor is heated to the required temperature in the tank, while high-speed stirring gear ensures quick heat transfer and homogenization of the product as well as reducing the viscosity. This gives the product a relatively thin-fluid consistency, and improves its flow and pressing properties. Industrial presses use as much as 6000 psi, requiring over a hundred tons of hydraulic pressure pushing on a press cylinder. "Raw" foodests should also be suspec of dutch processed chocolate. Dutched chocolate, is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder flavor. Dutched chocolate forms the basis for much of modern chocolate, and is used in ice cream, hot cocoa, and baking.The Dutch process accomplishes several things: Lowers acidity; Increases solubility; Enhances color;Lowers flavor. The Dutch process destroys flavonols (antioxidants).
In conclusion, if "Raw" chocolate tastes like chocolate, chances are its not "Raw". Most of us eat chocolate because it taste good, it makes us feel good and satisfied so the preoccupation with "Raw" should be left to our tastes buds not a label.
Thanks for this clarification! This is great!
Sacred Steve
I would also like to add that everybody's chocolate palatte is totally unique, and what somebody considers great tasting, another considers disgusting. It is also possible to monitor fermentation temperatures, and control them, if one so desires. Also, I never use cacao powder in my chocolate. We slowly stone grind the beans at low temperature.
Sacred Steve
I've been following this interesting thread was well into it when S. S. disclosed the Sacred Raw was made with low-temp fermented cacao. I mistakenly assumed raw/unroasted/unfermented cacao. What is the ORAC score for dried but unfermented cacao and dried, roasted unfermented cacao?


Hi Chocovore!
I am not sure about the ORAC scores on those different types that you suggest. I have not seen any lab reports on those yet.
Sacred Steve


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