If it had not been for John Fry, it is debatable whether chocolate as we know it today would ever have come into existence. In 1847, he discovered one of the confectionery industry’s greatest inventions by adding cocoa butter to a mixture of cocoa liquor and sugar. Chocolate was born, and it was here to stay.
Like many inventions, his discovery seems like a relatively simple matter today. Cocoa butter was the key to John Fry’s chocolate invention. Probably no other edible fat available at the time would have produced a consumer product that, right from the beginning, proved to possess such commercial staying power globally.
Particularly, the functional properties of cocoa butter in the initial recipe made it possible to formulate the chocolate into a product with the specific characteristics that it still has today.
The flavor of cocoa butter should be investigated from two different angles: its own typical flavor characteristics and its flavor stability.
After the roasting and alkalizing steps, cocoa butter intrinsically incorporates all of the typical cocoa flavor elements. It will, therefore, have a distinct cocoa flavor. Cocoa butter made from alkalized liquor has a somewhat stronger flavor than butter obtained from non-alkalized liquor. Most cocoa butter today is made from alkalized cocoa liquor. Particularly, the bitter and specific cocoa flavor components are accentuated in this type of cocoa butter.
Most often, the term “natural cocoa butter” is used for cocoa butter that has not been subjected to a deodorization step, so it has the full cocoa butter flavor. Sometimes the term “natural cocoa butter” describes the cocoa butter from non-alkalized (natural) cocoa liquor. The flavor intensity of cocoa butter can be managed by subjecting it to a deodorizing treatment. Depending on the required flavor intensity, cocoa butter can be fully or partially deodorized. Fully deodorized butter has hardly any cocoa flavor of its own, whereas non-deodorized butter absorbs the cocoa flavor components released during the roasting process. The degree of deodorizing is determined by the flavor intensity the cocoa butter user requires.
Cocoa butter has an ivory color in solid form and is yellowish in liquid form. In liquid form, its appearance should be clear and may not contain any solid particles. In most cases, the color of cocoa butter is not relevant with regard to the color of the chocolate made from it. The brown color of the fat-free dry cocoa constituents determines the color of the chocolate, and in this respect the color influence from the butter is negligible. There is, however, one exception: white chocolate. Although here the color of the milk components is dominant, the color of cocoa butter does have its impact as well.