Cocoa butter oil comes from the cocoa bean plant, also known as Theobroma cacao. The cocoa beans must endure a variety of processing methods before it becomes oil. Once it is extracted, the oil may be used in a wide variety of products ranging from food to skin care. Cocoa butter oil has also been said to have plenty of health benefits.
Harvesters from Asia, Africa, and South America gather the cocoa beans to prepare them for production. The cocoa bean comes from the cocoa tree found in many parts of the world, including Africa, South America, and Asia, and the tree itself grows as high as 50 feet (approximately 15 meters). The beans are extracted from the cocoa pods and then dried in the sun before shipment to plants. The cocoa butter manufacturers first inspect and clean the beans from any debris before roasting them at high temperatures so that the shells can be easily removed in a process called winnowing. Left behind are dry-roasted broken bits of the beans known as cocoa nibs.
To obtain the butter from the cocoa nibs, several more steps are required. The nibs are usually then ground into a paste known as chocolate liquor. Using hydraulic presses, the liquor is squeezed to extract the cocoa butter, which leaves behind cakes of cocoa powder. The cocoa butter appears as yellow, buttery-colored liquid at room temperature, which can easily be turned into a solid by cooling. The extracted yellow cocoa butter is actually a vegetable fat that smells and tastes like chocolate in its original, unrefined form. The cocoa butter produces a strong chocolate aroma, so manufacturers may put the oil through a refining and deodorizing process to minimize the scent.
There are many uses for the cocoa butter oil, both in everyday and medical uses. It can also be found as an ingredient in massage oils, creams, lotions, and other cosmetics since it protects the skin against many natural elements. Also known as theobroma oil, this oil is often used as a skin moisturizer, which is generally bottled and sold in most stores and pharmacies. Cocoa butter oil also reportedly heals stretch marks and prevents new ones from forming during pregnancy, and is also used in suppositories and many topical ointments since it is so natural and mild.
Cocoa butter oil also boasts antioxidant and rejuvenating properties. It contains vitamin E, which is said to reduce signs of aging and keep the skin healthy. As an edible ingredient, cocoa butter oil is often included in chocolates, desserts, and other snacks. In addition to hydrating the skin, the oil reportedly helps the immune system and reduces stress.