What is the "raw"-est / purest way to brew chocolate?
I've read in some forums that they've tried brewing ground fermented/roasted cacao beans (shell intact) but the results were not too good.
In the Philippines, and I believe in Latin American countries too, chocolate drinks are brewed by boiling cocoa liquor (called 'tabilla').
I think boiling and stirring continuously is a lot of effort for most consumers, so I tried brewing my traditional choco drink by adopting the French Press method prescribed by Crio Bru for their powder (using boiling water, stir, let steep for 15 minutes, stir again, then press), but using tabilla instead. The resulting drink had a layer of oil floating on the surface.
I used my own raw roasted (cold-processed) cacao powder (I didn't have Crio Bru) and the results seem to be better (no visible oil floating on the surface). I believe this is because the process of making cocoa liquor already begins the separation of cocoa butter.
Can anyone share their formula / recipe for their "raw"-est / purest choco drink?
The layer of oil would be from the cocoa. Cocoa comes in a range of fat levels. Low fat at about 10-12%, up to breakfast cocoa at about 26%. Liquor would have about 55%. What is the fat level in your cocoas?
The cocoa liquor we have is made from pure ground and melted cacao nibs. The natural level of cocoa butter fat found in that is around 50% to 57%, according to Wikipedia. I am just noting also that the oil more readily separates if made from cocoa liquor than ground powder. I actually don't mind the butter/oil/fat being there. I just prefer it to be better mixed in my drink.
Jason, If I understand correctly it seems that you are using cocoa powder that has the cocoa butter removed, yes? Or are you calling the ground nibs a "powder?" I'm not sure what you are using.
Mark Heim is correct on the ranges of cocoa butter levels in cocoa powder and liquor. If you are using de-fatted cocoa powder then of course you will not see much butter separation.
The chocolate tablets you describe are made from the nibs that have been ground up on stone machines and formed into tablets. The resulting chocolate drink is a bit gritty, and yes, the cocoa butter will separate out once heated. This is natural.
When I make my own chocolate drinks using 100% liquor or ground nibs I usually have a layer of fat that rises to the top. This does not bother me. Depending upon what liquid you are using I've found that the butter fat can emulsify into the drink. This can depend upon how thick you make the drink as well.
As to the "rawest" form of drinking chocolate, I guess that would depend upon whether you are heating it to have hot chocolate. In any case, I've found that unless I am using cocoa powder, I have to heat the liquid up beyond the "raw" standards to get the chocolate to melt right. Of course, I've never really tried to heat the liquid up to just under 118f to see whether this is true or not - I am not an adherent.
What do you mean when you say "purest" chocolate drink? Do you mean 100% made with water and no sweeteners?
I may have misused the term, but I'm calling the raw ground/milled roasted nibs "powder" too. I was noting that for some reason, oil doesn't seem to separate when I use these powders, even after pouring boiling water over it and letting it steep. For reference, this is the powder I used: http://bit.ly/xa8r80 (It says that it was "cold pressed". I'm not sure what that means. Is this to get the butter out? If so, then yeah, that's the reason why I'm not getting any oil.)
I am guessing that the process of liquifying ground nibs into paste already does a bit of butter separation, and so using cold-processed powder tend to keep the butter bound to the cacao particles. I really have no idea why. If this is true, though, then perhaps using these "raw" ground/milled powders may be preferable over tablets when making the drink, but only for purely aesthetic reasons. (It may also be this same reason that Crio Bru used the powder form over liquor when packaging their brewing chocolate.)
I guess there really is a need to heat it beyond 118f because it simply won't mix given its oil/fat content.
As for "purest", I'm referring to the the preparation of the brew. It's alright to add sweeteners and cream at the cup.