Cocoa powder not only adds rich taste and color to our sweets and cakes, but it also provides us a cause to break out the marshmallows and create a warm cup of cocoa. Cacao has been around for millennia, and its health advantages are still being studied today.
There are two varieties of cocoa powder: natural and Dutch processed, and this article examines the differences between the two. While we know that cocoa has certain health advantages, there has been increased worry in recent years about heavy metal levels in cocoa and chocolate products, so we look at the issue alongside assessments of some of the finest cocoa powder available.
The lighter HERSHEYS natural unsweetened cocoa 8 oz (six pack) is our top option for always having enough cocoa powder on hand.
Anthonys organic cocoa powder (2 kg), certified as USDA Organic, is our small batch budget selection cocoa powder.
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Cocoa Powder
- 1. HERSHEY’S Natural Unsweetened Cocoa 8 oz
- 2. Anthony’s Organic Cocoa Powder
- 3. Ghirardelli Chocolate Unsweetened Cocoa Pouch
- 4. Superwell Organic Cacao Powder
- 5. Droste Cocoa Powder
- 6. HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
- 7. Valrhona Pure Cocoa Powder
- 8. The Cocoa Trader’s Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
- 9. E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge
- 10. Ghirardelli Majestic Premium Cocoa Powder
- Things to Consider Before Buying Cocoa Powder
- Which is the best cocoa powder in the world?
- What is the best cocoa on the market?
- What is the healthiest cocoa powder to buy?
- What cocoa powder do professionals use?
- How do I choose a good cocoa powder?
- What is the best quality cocoa variety?
- What is premium quality cocoa?
- Which is the world best cocoa chocolate?
- Who is the #1 cocoa producer?
- What is the safest cocoa powder?
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Cocoa Powder
|HERSHEY’S Natural Unsweetened Cocoa 8 oz||A|
|Anthony’s Organic Cocoa Powder||A-|
|Ghirardelli Chocolate Unsweetened Cocoa Pouch||B+|
|Superwell Organic Cacao Powder||A|
|Droste Cocoa Powder||A-|
|HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa||B+|
|Valrhona Pure Cocoa Powder||A-|
|The Cocoa Trader’s Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder||B-|
|E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge||B|
|Ghirardelli Majestic Premium Cocoa Powder||A|
1. HERSHEY’S Natural Unsweetened Cocoa 8 oz
- Six 8 oz cans of 36 ounce unsweetened cocoa powder manufactured in the United States
- Ideal for desserts and hot chocolate.
- OU Kosher Certified and safe for gluten-free diets
HERSHEYS natural unsweetened cocoa 8 oz (six pack) is gluten free and certified OU Kosher. Manufactured in the United States of pure cacao, this is perfect for preparing sweets as well as hot chocolate. The back of the container offers recipes and directions for preparing frosting and hot cocoa; however, if you want a darker chocolate, you may need to mix in additional dark cocoa with this while baking, since it is a lighter cocoa.
Regrettably, some purchasers get broken or opened cans, so you may have to spend some additional time cleaning up when the delivery comes.
- Cocoa powder (natural)
- No gluten
- The possibility of getting damaged or unsealed cans
- If you want a deeper hue, you may need to combine this with more cocoa powder.
2. Anthony’s Organic Cocoa Powder
- This 2 pound bag of cocoa powder is USDA Organic and gluten free.
- Less refined cocoa as a result of non-alkalization during processing
- This cocoa is tested in tiny batches.
Anthonys organic cocoa powder (2 pound) is certified USDA organic and suited for gluten-free diets. The final product is less refined since this tiny quantity testing cocoa powder was not processed to reduce its acidity. A few purchasers mentioned that it may not have as much taste as other organic cocoas and that it could be dryer than other pure cocoas.
- No gluten
- a little quantity
- It may not be as flavorful as other organic chocolate.
- It has the potential to be drier than other cocoa powders.
- The package is prone to opening during transportation.
3. Ghirardelli Chocolate Unsweetened Cocoa Pouch
- Pure chocolate 8 ounce resealable pouch
- Non-alkalized and unsweetened
- Great for baking, sweets, or preparing hot chocolate.
Ghirardelli non-alkalized 100% cocoa (8 oz) comes in a resealable bag. Since it is unsweetened, this unsweetened powder is ideal for use as hot chocolate or in baking, however some may find it a touch bitter for use as hot cocoa.
This chocolate may have less taste than anticipated, and although the bag is resealable, it may be difficult to reseal after use.
- 100% cocoa
- 8-ounce resealable pouch
- It is possible that this cocoa powder has less taste than other cocoa powders.
- The bag may be difficult to reseal after usage.
4. Superwell Organic Cacao Powder
- A 15-ounce bag of cacao powder that includes a complimentary recipe e-book.
- Fairtrade, non-GMO, and USDA Organic Certified
- It is certified kosher and is acceptable for gluten-free diets.
- This powder has been tested for heavy metal contamination as well as purity.
GMO-free, Fairtrade, kosher, and gluten-free, the USDA Certified Organic Superwell organic cacao powder (15 oz) is also GMO-free. This cacao powder comes with a free recipe e-book, as well as a satisfaction guarantee.
There may be some confusion as to whether this is cacao or cocoa, since the box states that it has been roasted, which some interpret as cacao becoming cocoa. This powder has been tested for purity as well as heavy metals.
- Heavy metals testing
- E-book with free recipes
- Unknown if the roasting process changed this from cacao to cocoa.
5. Droste Cocoa Powder
- 8.8 ounces genuine Dutch cocoa powder imported
- Gluten-free and unsweetened
- There are no GMO components in this product.
Droste cocoa powder (8.8 oz) is 100% pure cocoa powder imported straight from Holland. This is a non-GMO chocolate that has been unsweetened and is gluten free. Sadly, since this is packed in a cardboard box, there is a great danger of breakage during shipment.
- Cocoa powder from the Netherlands
- A cardboard box serves as the outside chocolate package.
- There is a high possibility of shipment damage.
6. HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
- 8 oz. mix of Dutch processed and natural cocoa powders
- Dark chocolate flavor that is richer and milder
- OU Kosher Certified and safe for gluten-free diets
The HERSHEYS SPECIAL DARK cocoa (8 oz) is a gentler and fuller dark chocolate taste made from a combination of Dutch processed and natural pure cacao. This is OU Kosher Certified and gluten-free. HERSHEYS, on the other hand, has lately modified the recipe for its cocoa powder, and not all customers are pleased with the new taste. There is also the possibility of package damage.
- pure cocoa blend
- The flavor is milder.
- If you’re accustomed to using this cocoa powder, you may not like the new recipe.
- There is a strong possibility that you may get this with broken packing.
7. Valrhona Pure Cocoa Powder
- This cocoa from the Netherlands is perfect for baking, sweets, and hot chocolate.
- A dark-colored cocoa powder that is exceptionally fine and unsweetened.
Valrhona pure cocoa powder (8.8 oz) unsweetened is an extremely fine dark mahogany-colored powder. This is Dutch processed and is perfect for desserts and hot chocolate. Like with other dry items, there is a possibility of getting this powder with shipping damage.
- Exceptional dark cocoa
- Dutch extraction
- Chocolate suitable for sweets or drinking
- May came in tattered wrapping.
8. The Cocoa Trader’s Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
- 1 pound of black cocoa powder suited solely as a colorant
- It has an earthy and mellow taste and is made with 110% cacao.
- For using, combine with a dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
The Cocoa Traders Dutch Processing cocoa powder (1 pound) employs 100% cacao and has a mellow, smooth, and earthy taste that makes it suitable as a food colorant rather than a flavour. This dark black cocoa powder is intended for use as a colorant in chocolate cakes. It is recommended that you use this black cocoa in conjunction with a brown Dutch-processed cocoa. This cocoa powder is also backed by a money-back guarantee.
- Cocoa powder, black
- Dutch extraction
- Cocoa in its purest form
- Color only; not suited for seasoning.
- Huge 1 pound bag when just a tiny amount is needed for baking
9. E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge
- 8 oz. unsweetened cocoa powder
- Dutch processed in the United States
- Its bittersweet flavor lends itself well to baking.
The unsweetened E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge (8 oz) from the United States is a bittersweet cocoa powder. This powder has been prepared in the Netherlands and is suitable for baking. There is a chance that it may come damaged, and since it may have a different taste than other cocoa powders, you may opt to use it in baking rather than hot chocolate.
- Bittersweet taste
- Dutch extraction
- Some forms of cocoa powder have a different taste.
- It is possible that the can may arrive damaged.
10. Ghirardelli Majestic Premium Cocoa Powder
- 32 oz. unsweetened pure cocoa
- It contains 20-22% cocoa butter, making it excellent for high-end baking.
- Dutch processed in the United States
Ghirardelli Majestic Premium cocoa powder (32 oz), manufactured in the United States, with a cocoa butter percentage of 20-22%. This is an unsweetened, Dutch-processed pure cocoa powder that may be more difficult to dissolve in hot chocolate.
- Cocoa powder in its purest form
- 20% to 22% cocoa butter
- Dutch extraction
- Manufactured in the United States
- Hot chocolate will not melt as readily.
Things to Consider Before Buying Cocoa Powder
Cacao and Cocoa
Cacao is derived from the Theobroma cacao plant. The tree produces huge pod fruits with up to 60 beans inside a pulp. Cocoa is commonly referred to after the beans have been collected, ground, and the fat removed from the ground beans.
The distinction between cacao and cocoa is not often evident, and even specialists dispute on when cacao becomes cocoa.
Some producers of unroasted or less processed cacao beans may call it cacao to attract attention to its more natural condition, but others will alter the name from cacao to cocoa once fermented.
Difference Between Natural and Dutch Processed Cocoa
After fermenting, drying, and roasting cacao beans, they are split into nibs and mashed into a paste. This paste is composed of cocoa solids suspended in a nearly flavorless non-alcoholic liquid containing about 50% cocoa butter fat.
The solids are crushed into a fine powder after the cocoa butter is removed from the liquid. This cocoa powder has no milk, added fats, or sweeteners. This is natural cocoa powder at this stage, and following this procedure, the powder may be sweetened or flavored, otherwise packed and sold.
Natural cocoa powder ranges in color from pale red-brown to dark brown and has an acidic pH of 5 to 6. It will often be astringent with some bitterness, however the taste may vary depending on the cocoa bean used and how it is processed.
The pH of Dutch processed or Dutched cocoa powder is altered or alkalized to pH 7 or neutral by washing it with a potassium carbonate solution. Dutch process cocoa powder is often darker in color than natural cocoa powder and has a smoother, more mellow taste.
There is a distinction between the two, so when baking, use the type of cocoa powder specified in the recipe, especially if it includes chemical leaveners. Dutch process cocoa recipes are usually leavened with baking powder, whereas natural cocoa powder recipes are usually leavened with baking soda. Because the recipe will be balancing acid and alkaline ingredients, you must always use the correct cocoa when using powder and soda.
You may normally use whatever you choose for sweets, sauces, puddings, and ice creams. Raw cocoa is generally lighter in color, while Dutch processed cocoa has a stronger chocolate taste. Some chefs combine the two to contrast taste with color depth.
Hot Cocoa, Hot Chocolate and Drinking Chocolate
Cocoa powder is perfect for creating hot chocolate in addition to baking and sweets. This is created by combining heated milk or water with either sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder. If the drink is unsweetened, adding additional sugar or sweetener to the completed product will alleviate some of the bitterness.
Traditional hot chocolate is created with tiny chocolate pellets that are melted before being combined with milk, water, or cream. This European kind of hot chocolate is often more richer than hot cocoa and may not be as well-liked by non-Europeans.
The majority of hot chocolate on the market is really a hot cocoa mix combining cocoa powder, dried milk, and sugar. Other tastes, such as vanilla or cinnamon, may be added.
Storing Cocoa Powder
To keep cocoa powder fresh, store it in an airtight container in a cold area. This should keep it for up to two years. Keep it out of the refrigerator since the humidity will cause it to deteriorate quicker.
Health Benefits of Cocoa
While it was initially used by the Mayans, cocoa was brought to Europe in the sixteenth century by Spanish conquerors, and it immediately became famous as a health tonic.
Polyphenols are antioxidants found in chocolate, fruits and vegetables, wine, and tea. Cocoa is high in them, as well as certain forms of polyphenols known as flavanols. These flavanols have been related to health advantages such as decreased blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels. While the ability of flavanols to reduce blood sugar levels may assist relieve symptoms of type 2 diabetes, overall intake of chocolate products has a detrimental influence on blood sugar management.
Polyphenols have also been related to better brain functioning, which may help lessen the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s.
Several laboratory research have also shown that flavanols may induce cancer cell death and aid in the prevention of cancer cell spread; animal studies in this area have also yielded encouraging findings. The data linking cocoa intake to a lower risk of cancer in people is still inconsistent, therefore much more study is required before conclusions can be reached.
It is important to note that when cocoa is processed or heated, part of its antioxidant value is lost, and Dutch processing of cocoa may result in a 60% loss in flavanols.
Heavy Metal Contamination of Cocoa Powder and Chocolate
The concentration of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, nickel, and chromium in cocoa and chocolate has recently been studied.
Scientists in Indonesia discovered all of these heavy metals in beans from South Sulawesi, Indonesia, however the amounts were below the European Food Safety Authority’s maximum critical threshold (EFSA). A study of metals in food studies concluded that industry standards and excellent agricultural practices were required to prevent food contamination during processing.
Since children are more exposed to cocoa products than adults, they are at a larger risk of absorbing metals. Some studies have found that adult cocoa drinkers have a higher risk of certain health problems.
It is important to note that these heavy metals are present in our environment and that we are exposed to them all of our lives. Since they are in the ground, any crops grown in these soils will have some pollutants, notably lead, and the quantity of lead in the ground may be significantly greater in areas where leaded pesticides have previously been used. Cocoa and other foods may potentially be contaminated with lead or other metals while being kept or processed.
The FDA has been monitoring lead in food for decades, and initially offered recommendations to producers, importers, and distributors stating that if candies had more than 0.5 parts per million of lead, the FDA would take regulatory action. The advice was updated in 2006 to propose a maximum lead level of 0.1 ppm.
A consumer advocacy organization located in California (As You Sow) had a variety of cocoa products independently examined and discovered that more than half of the samples contained cadmium and lead levels that exceeded California’s state guidelines, which are harsher than federal limits. As a result, the organization launched a lawsuit against many chocolate producers.
As You Sow filed a lawsuit to determine if lead and cadmium content labels should be posted on chocolate bars under California’s Proposition 65.
A California Superior Court judge allowed a settlement of the dispute in 2018. The agreement states that chocolate makers would commit to and pay a collaborative study to explore and report on lead and cadmium sources in chocolate within three years. The results will be publicized, and the agreement will establish a threshold for deciding whether a Prop 65 warning is required for chocolate goods.
Major chocolate makers such as Hershey and Nestl are engaged, while other smaller firms selling chocolate in California will be allowed to opt in.
This article discussed when cacao becomes cocoa and, perhaps more crucially, some of the worries about heavy metal pollution. These issues will be addressed in the near future, particularly in relation to Proposition 65. It is also crucial to remember that cocoa has certain health advantages, especially for chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Whether you prefer a darker Dutch processed cocoa powder or a lighter natural cocoa powder, we hope our reviews have assisted you in selecting the best cocoa powder for your chocolate cakes and hot cocoa.
Which is the best cocoa powder in the world?
Reviews of the Top 8 Cocoa Powders
Overall winner: HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK BAKED CHOCOLATE.
Barry Cocoa Powder is the most affordable option.
Heavenly Cocoa Powder is the best premium option.
Cacao powder from Navitas Organics.
Chocolate Rodelle Gourmet Bakery…
Valrhona Pure Cocoa Powder. Ghirardelli Unsweetened Dutch Process Cocoa.
Additional details…•January 6, 2021
What is the best cocoa on the market?
Chefs’ Picks for the Best Cocoa Powders
The Finest Cocoa Powder Overall: Cacao Extra Brutal Barry Cocoa Powder…
Republica Del Cacao is the best cocoa powder for brownies.
Valrhona Cocoa Powder is the best splurge cocoa powder.
Chocolate is the best chocolaty taste. Black cocoa powder from Noel.
Additional details…•September 17, 2022
What is the healthiest cocoa powder to buy?
If nothing else, it’s an occasion to try something new in the kitchen!
Natural Cocoa Powder from GERBS. Natural Chocolate Powder by GERBS, 32 oz.
Organic Cacao Powder from Sunfood Superfoods. Penzeys Natural Cocoa Powder…. 100% Natural Wonders Cacao Powder. Sunfood Superfoods Cacao Powder – Pure Raw Organic.
What cocoa powder do professionals use?
Pure Cocoa Powder Valrhona
Currently, many pastry chefs and chocolatiers utilize Valrhona chocolate and cocoa powder.
How do I choose a good cocoa powder?
Flavor: A good cocoa powder should have a robust chocolate flavor without being too sweet. Cocoa may taste like bitter dark chocolate or soft milk depending on the kind.
What is the best quality cocoa variety?
Criollo and Trinitario are the excellent kinds valued for producing the most fascinating and complex chocolates. Forastero is the hardier, more consistent strain with a larger cocoa pod output.
What is premium quality cocoa?
Premium cocoa powder contains 22% to 24% fat, which is twice as much as conventional cocoa powder. Since we use so little cocoa in recipes, the fat difference is insignificant, and it is worthwhile to get the higher fat cocoa for its quality.
Which is the world best cocoa chocolate?
Ecuador. Ecuador produces some of the world’s best cacao beans. Just around 5% of the world’s cacao is categorized as “Fine Aroma,” and Ecuador produces about 63% of it.
Who is the #1 cocoa producer?
Cote d’Ivoire, located in West Africa, is the world’s largest cocoa producer, producing over 2,200,000 tons of cocoa beans each year. Cote d’Ivoire accounts for around 38% of global cocoa bean output.
What is the safest cocoa powder?
Cocoa powder tests, like chocolate, revealed a wide range of levels across different brands. And, as with the chocolate bars, Trader Joe’s cocoa powder was high in cadmium, while Ghirardelli was low.