Cocoa Butter from SheaTree Ghana in West Africa
In the heart of West Africa lies a land of untamed beauty and cultural richness – Ghana. Amidst its vibrant landscapes, one can find the shea tree, a symbol of sustenance and tradition. Shea butter, a product of the shea tree, has been cherished by generations for its diverse applications, both in skincare and culinary delights. Today, we embark on a journey to explore the exceptional cocoa butter produced by SheaTree Ghana, Nature Packaged's esteemed farm partner in Ghana.
Cocoa butter, often confused with shea butter, is derived from the beans of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), which is native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. It's the key ingredient in making luxurious chocolate, but it's also highly sought after for its remarkable benefits in skincare and cosmetics.
Cocoa butter boasts a plethora of benefits that make it sought after. It’s moisturizing property, from a rich collection of fatty acids, make a protective barrier that prevents moisture loss. It’s also commonly used to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy
Cocoa Butter is made from cacao beans (yes, the same ones that could become your favorite chocolate bar). Ghana is one of the world’s largest cocoa-producing countries and the process at SheaTree Ghana involves several key steps:
Cocoa butter is derived from cacao beans, which are cultivated with care in tropical regions. Ghana is one of the world's largest cocoa-producing countries, known for its high-quality cacao. The cultivation process involves several key steps. Any new tree starts out as a sapling grown in the shade of taller trees. This protects them from harsh, direct sunlight while they’re still growing. Otherwise, older trees are tended to by hand, using hand-weeding and compost to keep them healthy.
Harvesting & Processing
The cacao pods are harvested by hand once they ripen at the end of the season. This is a labor-intensive process given their size and the precision required to extract the beans from their pods. Those beans are then extracted from the pods and fermented for several days. After fermentation, cacao beans are spread out to dry in the sun to reduce the amount of water inside of them (which helps to prevent spoilage later down the line), and then the beans are roasted, which helps separate the cocoa solids from the cocoa butter.
To fully separate out the butter from the beans, the roasted beans are first subjected to winnowing after being cracked open, to remove their outer shells. Then the remaining cacao nibs are ground into a thick, oily paste, known as chocolate liquor, a mixture that contains both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Finally, hydraulic presses are used to separate out the cocoa solids from the cocoa butter. This resulting butter is checked over for major impurities and then packaged!
Cocoa Butter is a precious gift of nature with a myriad of benefits for both skincare and culinary indulgence. SheaTree Ghana, Nature Packaged's dedicated farm partner, is committed to delivering the finest quality cocoa butter while nurturing the land and empowering local communities. By understanding the journey from cacao tree to cocoa butter, we gain a deeper appreciation for this remarkable ingredient and its role in enhancing our lives, inside and out.
If you'd like to purchase SheaTree Ghana's Cocoa Butter, you can do so here!