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Thread: Let's talk about cacao

  1. #1
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    Let's talk about cacao

    Both cacao nibs and cacao beans are both cacao without the additives.
    (I tried cacao nibs; it is not as bitter as I fear it would be; definitely it is NOT smooth like the chocolate form.)
    While dark chocolate has been hailed for certain health benefits, cacao itself is considered even better.
    Here come the controversial: Cacao is either considered a beneficial superfood or a harmful addictive.
    I heard the people of the tropic eat cacao pod much like the way pomegranates are eaten, and some people call the seeds (or beans) highly toxic.
    My humble opinion is that cacao can be safely consumed and enjoyed sparingly.

  2. #2
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    I just found that cacao nibs can be used very much like tea leaves, but you can eat the softened cacao nibs later (they taste better when they are softer and wet.)

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    Reasons that pure cacao ("raw" chocolate in other words) only comes up recently

    While chocolate in different forms have been popular for a long time, pure cacao (in forms of nibs, beans or powder) only comes on shelf for
    the last 10 years.
    I can proudly say I've tasted cacao without the milk and the sugar. (Also, pure hot chocolate.)
    It is a strong stimulant, though.
    I guess you cannot get theobromine-free chocolate, though.
    I keep wondering why cacao in its pure form didn't reach the market sooner, though.

  4. #4
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    I have always loved cacao and grew up having it in our table.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodleepee View Post
    I have always loved cacao and grew up having it in our table.
    This may sound like you are from a cacao producing region.

  6. #6
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    Coffee, cacao (or chocolate), cola (including kola nuts), and tea (tea leaves)

    I previously posted a thread about cacao, but it is too specific for any further discussions.
    Let's broaden it to include the three common stimulants: Coffee, cacao (or chocolate), and cola (including cola nuts.)
    Many people have tasted pure coffee drinks; I just wonder if roasted coffee beans can be eaten directly like cacao nibs.
    Pure cacao powder or nibs only come quite recently; I have made "tea" with cacao nibs, it may taste different from coffee subtly,
    but a mix of cacao nibs with coffee doesn't make much difference at all.
    Since the availability of cacao nibs and powder, we can now make sugar and dairy free hot chocolate. While I enjoy pure hot chocolate (or
    cacao tea), it is a powerful stimulant.
    Since theobromine is the most potent agent in cacao and chocolate, I guess theobromine-free cacao products defeat the purpose.
    Cola was originally made with kola nuts (the genus Cola includes too many species to list there), although the practice is quite
    uncommon today.
    Still, cola today contains caffeine (I'm not too sure about theobromine, though.)
    Tea leaves (or tea) also contains caffeine naturally.
    Of the four, cacao contains negligible amount of caffeine; it is theobromine that makes it such a powerful stimulant.

  7. #7
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    Anything about chocolates (including the so-called "raw chocolates")

    Due to recent purchases, I may have weekly doses of "raw chocolates". (Both cacao beans and nibs; nibs are good for making tea, but beans are better for eating.)

    http://navitasnaturals.com/product/487/Cacao-Beans.html

    http://navitasnaturals.com/product/439/Cacao-Nibs.html

    Although they are called "raw", by no means the cacao beans or nibs are totally unprocessed:

    The beans are processed this way:

    Navitas Naturals organic Cacao is picked and then immediately starts a natural fermentation in the fruit like pod for about 48-72 hours. Once extracted from the pod, purified water is used to cleanse the beans. The beans are then low temperature dried. Navitas Naturals uses the least invasive, lowest impact, and lowest temperature processing methods available in an effort to preserve the maximum nutritional density of our superfoods.

    The nibs are processed this way:

    Navitas Naturals organic Cacao is picked and then immediately starts a natural fermentation in the fruit like pod for about 48-72 hours. Once extracted from the pod, purified water is used to cleanse the beans. The beans are then low temperature dried and their shells are removed before being crushed in to smaller nib size pieces. Navitas Naturals uses the least invasive, lowest impact, and lowest temperature processing methods available in an effort to preserve the maximum nutritional density of our superfoods.

    After drinking cacao nibs tea, I feel that the common hot chocolate is too processed for me. (I may not stop eating processed chocolate on an occasional basis, but I now I prefer "raw chocolate" any days.)

    By the way, I remembered my previous post(s), so this is making the topic more general.

  8. #8
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    Very, very few people are actually allergic to chocolate.

    What most people have is an allergy to is the jungle cockroaches that are unavoidably mixed in with all chocolates, at the source.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Very, very few people are actually allergic to chocolate.

    What most people have is an allergy to is the jungle cockroaches that are unavoidably mixed in with all chocolates, at the source.
    Do this include the cacao beans, cacao nibs and powder?

  10. #10
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    Merged 4 (FOUR!) cacao/chocolate threads into one. On the very day you return from a suspension for creating double threads, you create a FOURTH thread on cacao and/or chocolate in a month (minus the suspension). If one topic doesn't get responses, do NOT create another just like it. You have now had several warnings and suspensions.. our patience is wearing very, very thin.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Very, very few people are actually allergic to chocolate.

    What most people have is an allergy to is the jungle cockroaches that are unavoidably mixed in with all chocolates, at the source.
    Maybe that is why I'm so big on chocolate.

    What's the key component there?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    Many people have tasted pure coffee drinks; I just wonder if roasted coffee beans can be eaten directly like cacao nibs.
    Ever had chocolate coated coffee beans? They are rather nice and consist of roasted coffee beans coated in chocolate, I don't see any problem with eating roast coffee beans straight other than them not being very palatable and it being easy to over indulge if you do like them

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grashtel View Post
    Ever had chocolate coated coffee beans? They are rather nice and consist of roasted coffee beans coated in chocolate, I don't see any problem with eating roast coffee beans straight other than them not being very palatable and it being easy to over indulge if you do like them
    This is exactly what happens when I eat cacao beans, but cacao beans are way stronger stimulants than any processed chocolates.

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    Now, who may prefer cacao beans over processed chocolate?

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    While I have tasted tea with cacao nibs, it doesn't quite release the full strength of the nibs; I guess powder is a little different.
    A strange question: many people seem to enjoy pure coffee; do anyone enjoy pure cacao drinks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    While I have tasted tea with cacao nibs, it doesn't quite release the full strength of the nibs; I guess powder is a little different.
    A strange question: many people seem to enjoy pure coffee; do anyone enjoy pure cacao drinks?
    Aztecs.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Aztecs.
    Funny, all of these cacao packages talk of "Mayan superfood", and they are mostly from Peru. (Why don't they call it "Incan superfood"?)

  18. #18
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    While the Aztecs certainly use cacao, we usually see labels that say "Mayan superfood".
    Why is Mayan considered "cooler" than Aztecs anyway?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    While the Aztecs certainly use cacao, we usually see labels that say "Mayan superfood".
    Why is Mayan considered "cooler" than Aztecs anyway?
    If "we" includes me, then no, I've never seen anything labeled that.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  20. #20
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    Me neither...
    As above, so below

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Me neither...
    Or me.

    And I doubt if the word "cool" has any meaning when applied to a civilization.
    And I doubt if there's such a thing as a superfood.
    And I doubt if cacao has any of the attributes normally associated with so-called superfoods.
    And I know that most cacao is produced in Africa, while Brazil is actually the major producer in South/Central America.

    Apart from that, I'm completely on board with the premises of this thread.

    Grant Hutchison

  22. #22
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    Grant, but there are plenty of civilizations that qualify as "uncool" and the Aztecs were sure as hell uncool. Monsters wouldn't be a bad descriptor either.

    From the Jaguar Cults, (there are no big cat cults, anywhere, that didn't practice human cannibalism), to the skull rack in the square of their capital to the design of the stairs of their pyramids, which are specifically engineered so that a limp human body will roll from top to bottom. Tourists still die on those stairs in slip and falls. You *will* go all the way to the bottom.

    and don't get me started on the Aztec's sexual peculiarities.

    Mayans, not so much.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    What most people have is an allergy to is the jungle cockroaches that are unavoidably mixed in with all chocolates, at the source.
    Well, it's a good story.
    It comes from an ABC News report, quoting an allergist called Morton M. Teich, who actually doesn't state that allergic reactions to chocolate are caused by cockroaches. He says that some people are allergic to cockroaches (true), that there are cockroach parts in chocolate (true), and that when he tells people who are allergic to cockroaches that there are cockroach parts in chocolate, they say "I'm not going to eat that any more!" Which rather suggests that they have been eating chocolate without problems up to that point.

    I've never been able to find a peer-reviewed paper supporting this story, or a patient-information sheet for people with cockroach allergy that tells them to avoid chocolate.

    Grant Hutchison

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Grant, but there are plenty of civilizations that qualify as "uncool" and the Aztecs were sure as hell uncool.
    It would however take a special kind of person to respond to an episode of mass human sacrifice with the words, "Dudes, that so uncool."
    There's just a point at which the "cool/uncool" axis fails to address the magnitude and complexity of the task. It's like rating earthquakes on the "convenient/inconvenient" scale.

    Grant Hutchison

  25. #25
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    Thanks as always for the insight Dr. Grant.

    And I have to add that every present day Aztec I've ever met has been a wonderful person. Most were from Texas. One was on my moving crew and one day I mentioned on break that he was the "prettiest man I've ever seen in my life who wasn't trying for that effect". (in response to accusations that I was hitting on his girlfriend, by others. Jesus, I'm nice to everybody! Well, most everybody.)

    He overheard it and started to grow a beard the very next day.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Grant, but there are plenty of civilizations that qualify as "uncool" and the Aztecs were sure as hell uncool. Monsters wouldn't be a bad descriptor either.

    Mayans, not so much.
    The Mayans weren't very nice either. They too engaged in human sacrifice, and even tied it to their ballgame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    The Mayans weren't very nice either. They too engaged in human sacrifice, and even tied it to their ballgame.
    Then again, we have this label: Mayan superfood on any of Navitas cacao products.
    http://navitasnaturals.com/product/487/Cacao-Beans.html

    Wait, during the Warring States and the Civil War period between Qin and Han Dynasty, hundreds of thousands prisoners of wars were buried ALIVE.....
    The Taiping Rebellion can be labeled as the "bloodiest civil war" in world history.
    I just try to point it out that many civilizations have gory details.
    Last edited by Inclusa; 2015-Jul-16 at 04:56 AM.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Grant, but there are plenty of civilizations that qualify as "uncool" and the Aztecs were sure as hell uncool. Monsters wouldn't be a bad descriptor either.

    From the Jaguar Cults, (there are no big cat cults, anywhere, that didn't practice human cannibalism), to the skull rack in the square of their capital to the design of the stairs of their pyramids, which are specifically engineered so that a limp human body will roll from top to bottom. Tourists still die on those stairs in slip and falls. You *will* go all the way to the bottom.

    and don't get me started on the Aztec's sexual peculiarities.
    And the Spartans were pederasts and declared war on their own slaves. And the Romans crucified people and fed dissidents to animals in public, as entertainment. And everyone's ancestors were bone-deep racists.

    Every society has its horrors, some are just more easily emphasized than others. We're all part monster and part angel.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    Then again, we have this label: Mayan superfood on any of Navitas cacao products.
    I don't think we can be guided by the word choices of any organization that uses the word "superfood" without irony.

    Grant Hutchison

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I don't think we can be guided by the word choices of any organization that uses the word "superfood" without irony.

    Grant Hutchison
    “Superfood" is a marketer's term, so is "health food". If you check, it will state that "this is a health food; it is not intended to prevent, treat, or cure any health conditions".
    Nonetheless, I take the cacao experiment as an interesting taste bud experience; I have YET to try cacao butter, but I have tried cacao nibs, cacao beans, and cacao powder.
    Cacao powder makes wonderful hot chocolate (way better than any hot chocolate mix, and surprisingly NOT bitter.)
    Cacao nibs are the bitterest of the three.
    Cacao beans? The most direct and unaltered form; it is a good snack by itself. Hehehe, it is less bitter than dark chocolate, but I don't exactly know why/how.

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