cacao(redirected from cacaos)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
(1) a plant of the genus Theobroma of the family Sterculiaceae and (2) the food product obtained from the seeds of that plant [in English, the term “cocoa” is more commonly used for the food product].
The seeds of cacao beans have a bitter astringent taste, which is caused by the presence of tanins and theobromine, and do not have the aroma and taste characteristic of chocolate products. The color of the beans ranges from violet to gray and white. In order to improve their flavor, freshly picked beans separated from the pulp are fermented for two to seven days. As a result of complex biochemical processes, the beans turn various shades of brown and acquire a pleasant aroma and taste. Next the beans are dried in the sun on plantations or are dried by heated air.
Cacao is a valuable food raw material. The average composition of the kernel (evaluation of the dry substance) is water, 4—6 percent; fat, cocoa butter, 51-54 percent; starch, 7-10 percent; glucose, fructose, 1-2 percent; protein, 10-12 percent; theobromine, caffeine, 1-1.5 percent; tannins, 4-7 percent; acids, 1-2 percent; and mineral substances, 2-3 percent.
After the beans are cleaned, sorted, and thermally treated, they are broken into nibs and finely ground to make ground cacao, which in turn is used to make cocoa butter and chocolate. Cocoa butter is made by pressing the ground cacao. The remaining cake is coarsely broken and pulverized to make cocoa powder, which is used to prepare the beverage cocoa.