Synonym of Cocoa Butter

Theobroma oil, Cacao butter

Biological Source of Cocoa Butter

It is a fat obtained from roasteri seeds of Theobroma cacao L., family Sterculiaceae.

Geographical Source of Cocoa Butter

Cocoa is cultivated in most of the tropical and sub-tropical countries, especially Sri Lanka, Philippines, Brazil, Curacao, Mexico, Ecuador, West Africa and parts of India.

It has been used by Mexicans since long time and even was known to Columbus and Cortez. Cocoa butter was prepared as early as 1695 A. D.

Cultivation of Cocoa

Cocoa is cultivated upto an elevation of 1000 metres above sea level. It needs well drained good quality soil, with a capacity to hold moisture. About 15 to 30 cm of top soil should have sufficient organic matter.

Plants of Cocoa can tolerate a rainfall of 150 cm to 500 cm per annum, provided it is properly distributed. Proper irrigation is essential at least for the first two years of cultivation so as to enable tap root of the plant to penetrate particular depth in the soil. Cocoa plant is sun loving, but can not bear direct sun-light. Hence, permanent ever-green forest trees are grown to provide shade, well in advance before cocoa plants are planted. Inter-planting can be done successfully by raising coconut or arecanut in trees between.

Cocoa plants survive for 60 to 70 years and start bearing fruits after three years of planting. Hindustan Cocoa Products Limited in India has undertaken extensive cultivation of cocoa in Kerala.

Preparation of Cocoa butter

Cocoa seeds contain about 50% of cocoa butter. The seeds are separated from pods and are allowed to ferment wherein the seeds change their colour from white to dark reddish-brown due to enzymatic reaction. The fermentation process takes place at 30 – 40°C.

The process of fermentation is carried out in tubes, boxes or in the cavities made in the earth for 3 to 6 days. After fermentation, the seeds are roasted at 100- 140°C, which looses water and acetic acid from the seeds and facilitates removal of seed coat.

The seeds are then cooled immediately and are fed to nibbling machine to remove the shells followed by winnowing. The kernels are then fed to hot rollers which yield a pasty mass containing cocoa butter. This is further purified to give cocoa butter. The cocoa shells are processed further to yield an alkaloid.


Cocoa butter is yellowish-white solid and brittle below 25°C. It has pleasant chocolate odour and taste.

It is insoluble in water, but soluble in ether, chloroform, benzene and petroleum ether.

Standards of cocoa butter

Specific gravity0.858-0.864
Melting point30-35 C
Refractive Index1.4637-1.4578
Saponification Value188-195
Iodine Value35-40

Chemical Constituents of cocoa butter

It consists of glycerides of stearic (34%), palmitic (25%), oleic (37%) acids and small amount of arachidic and linoleic acids. The non-greasiness of product is due to its glyceride structure.

Chemical test for cocoa butter

Dissolve 1 gm of theobroma oil in 3 ml of ether in a test-tube at a temp of 17°C and immerse the tube in water having the temp of melting ice. The solution does not become turbid or deposit white flexes in less than three minutes after congealing raise the temp to 15 °C, a clear liquid is gradually

Uses of Cocoa Butter

It is used as a base for suppositories and ointments, manufacture of creams and toilet soaps.

Substitute of cocoa butter

Mango kernel oil, which is a solid fat at room temperature and has a melting point of 35°C, is used as substitute for cocoa butter.