I eat at least a TBSP of cocoa every day. I mix it with coffee and have been making shakes with it since the summer hit. I'm partial to Hershey's Special Dark but it's not organic and I'm sure the bean-to-package process is questionable (ingredients: cocoa). I've tried Penzey's, NOW organic, Ghirardelli, and the regular Hershey's cocoa, but the Special Dark has an intensity that I really enjoy. Any suggestions for organic or minimally processed cocoa?
I don't have tips on specific brands, but do have an answer to help in your choice:
There are 2 types of unsweetened cacao powder to consider:
Dutch processing reduces flavanol content, so go with the natural if you want the maximum benefit. I prefer the bitter taste of naturally processed.
Some analysis with pretty graphs and all:
On brands: Finding non-dutched powder in the UK is very difficult, so I'm currently ordering many different brands from the US. Price is important (I eat a lot) so ordered here starting with the cheapest/100g:
Up until now I've been getting by with a supply of Hershey's Natural Unsweetened brought from the USofA, but it will be gone by end of day.
Heryshey's Natural 100% cocoa all the way baby! It's both cheap and good!
Stay away from the "dutched" stuff, like Sean said, it has all the taste but none of the nutrition of real chocolate.
Do you have any "recipes" for drinking cocoa (made out of raw cocoa powder?). I've hade Cococeps (one portion bags from iHerb) with maca, cinnamon and stevia. I do have to use at least 3 droppers of stevia to make it actually taste good, and I don't think maca is the reason for that.
Chocolate Tessellation (chocolate so intense that “It’s not candy!” could be included in the description of this Paleo-quality recipe) was created with Ghiradelli Natural Unsweetened Cocoa, an excellent product! The recipe has not been posted online yet, but Black Cherry Tessellas is similar and includes the brief history of this symbolic offering for a Mayan 2012 "celebration of cacao".
A Cacao Festival seems to be occurring in more communities every year (and at different times of the year). These are fun events for learning about cacao nutrition and about the different cocoa powders. Not until I added fruit juice concentrate (syrup) to the Tessera recipe did I realize that cocoa powders have flavor and acidity uniqueness which affects the recipe. Depending on the recipe, some powders are much better than others.
Using a coffee grinder to create "cacao brewing nibs" (less coarse nibs for adding to ground coffee) showed me that this same process creates cacao powder - just keep grinding. So, if especially tasty raw nibs are available, try making your own raw cacao powder. Technically, this does not create the further processed "cocoa powder", but should retain the raw cacao nutrition. Note: cacao powder (and cocoa powder) will clog coffee filters - just use the ground nibs.
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