Jamaican Cocoa
Submit A Site | Advertise | About Us 

Jamaican Cocoa

Jamaican Cocoa In Jamaican Food Recipes

The cacao (Jamaican cocoa) plant is a wide-branching evergreen Jamaican cocoa tree, reaching 20-25 feet in height. The Jamaican cocoa plant is "cauliflorous" with Jamaican cocoa flowers (and later Jamaican cocoa fruits) protruding directly from the woody branches and Jamaican cocoa trunk. The Jamaican cocoa fruit, or "Jamaican cocoa pod", reaches to one foot long and 2-4 inches in diameter. Jamaican cocoa beans contain the caffeine alkaloid Theobromine, which is a mild stimulant. Jamaican cocoa is the source of Jamaican chocolate, which is obtained by roasting and grinding the Jamaican cocoa seeds. Jamaican chocolate is also said to contain the chemical Phenylethylamine, a natural amphetamine found in the human brain, which induces a feeling of euphoria. Expressing most of the fatty oil gives Jamaican cocoa. The fat, when clarified, is a pure white compound, almost as hard as beeswax, and is used in many pharmaceutical preparations. The species is native to the rainforests of Central and South America and was used by the Amerindians of Jamaica and Central America in a bitter drink that included red pepper. The name "Jamaican chocolate" is from the Aztec, "xocolatl", meaning "bitter water". A related aboriginal use is the sauce for turkey, mole, which is now a part of Jamaican cuisine. The world consumes more than a million tons of processed Jamaican chocolate annually.

The genuine Jamaican cocoa tree is a small and handsome evergreen Jamaican cocoa tree, growing in South America and the West Indies, from 12 to 25 feet high, and branching at the top; when cultivated Jamaican cocoa is not allowed to grow so high. The stem is erect, straight, 4 to 6 feet high; the wood light and white; the Jamaican cocoa bark thin, somewhat smooth, and brownish. The Jamaican cocoa leaves are alternate, petiolate, lanceolate-oblong, ribbed, veined, entire, smooth on both sides, dark-green, 8 to 10 inches long, the younger ones rose-colored; the petioles terete, thinner in the middle, with 2 small, linear, awl-shaped stipules at base. The Jamaican cocoa flowers are very small, clustered, axillary, but emanate from the sides of the stems; they are white, with a reddish tint, and scentless. Pedicels uniflorous and filiform. The calyx consists of 5 sepals, and is deciduous; the divisions are oval lanceolate, angustate, and pointed. Petals 5, vaulted at the base, ligulate above. Stamens, linear, awl-shaped, urceolate, the 5 sterile ones much longer than the 5 Jamaican cocoa fruitful ones, and alternate with the petals; the 5 Jamaican cocoa fruitful ones opposite the petals, and bearing 2 anthers. The style is 5-cleft at the apex; the stigmas simple. Ovary free, sessile, oval, elongated, 10-grooved, downy, with 8 ovules in 2 rows in each of the Compartments. Jamaican cocoa fruit indehiscent, ovate-oblong, 5-celled, and covered with a ligneous, leather-like Jamaican cocoa bark, emanating from the sides of the stems. The Jamaican cocoa seeds are numerous, compressed, 1 inch long, reddish-brown externally, dark-brown internally, and imbedded in a whitish, sweetish, buttery pulp.

Origin of this tropical under story Jamaican cocoa tree in the family of the Sterculiaceae is the Amazon Headwaters from where Jamaican cocoa moved to Central America. Jamaican cocoa cultivation began by Mayan tribes in Central America, ca. 1500 BC. Mayas and Aztec attributed divine origin to Jamaican cocoa tree. The precious Jamaican cocoa beans were used as a currency. The sacred beverage called "Jamaican chocolate" was consumed from golden cups Jamaican cocoa was exported to Europe in 1585 but the first Jamaican chocolate bar was not made until 1848. The pure alkaloids Theo bromine and caffeine are responsible for the stimulant effect of Jamaican cocoa and Jamaican chocolate and contribute to bitter Jamaican cocoa flavor. The Jamaican cocoa tree grows between ±15 ° latitude, requires 18-32 °C and 1500-2000 mm rain with high humidity. The Jamaican cocoa tree grows 12-15 meter tall (in Jamaican cocoa plantations ~ 7m). Jamaican cocoa seedlings form a jorquette with 5 plagiotropic branches. After 2-3 years the Jamaican cocoa tree produces many cauliflorous Jamaican cocoa flowers and Jamaican cocoa fruits develop after about 5 years. The self-incompatibility of Theobroma Jamaican cocoa is an important issue. The Jamaican cocoa fruits abscise several weeks after pollination. Self compatibility is rare but important for breeding.

The Jamaican cocoa fruits grow for 150-180 days; contain 30-40 Jamaican cocoa seeds surrounded with mucilaginous pulp, and produce 10-35 cm long Jamaican cocoa pods with recalcitrant Jamaican cocoa seeds (no germination after desiccation). A good Jamaican cocoa tree produces around 40 Jamaican cocoa pods/Jamaican cocoa tree.

The Jamaican cocoa plant is pollinated by midges (Forciponia sp). 60% of the Jamaican cocoa flowers never get pollinated, & abscise in 48 hours. Only about 5% of pollinated Jamaican cocoa flowers receive enough pollen to initiate Jamaican cocoa fruit development.

Up to 30% of World's production is lost mostly through fungal diseases such as Black Jamaican cocoa pod; Witches' Broom causes up to 90% loss of yield, attacks all meristematic tissues, flushes, cushions and young Jamaican cocoa pods. Jamaican cocoa causes distorted flushes, "strawberry Jamaican cocoa fruits" and infected Jamaican cocoa pods. Jamaican cocoa pod Rot, Jamaican cocoa Swollen Shoot and Jamaican cocoa pod Borer are also terrible diseases that inflict the Jamaican cocoa tree.

Jamaican cocoa was named Theobroma by Linnaeus, the word meaning 'food of the gods,' so called from the goodness of its Jamaican cocoa seeds. Jamaicans named the pounded Jamaican cocoa seeds 'Jamaican chocolate.' The Jamaican cocoa tree is handsome, 12 to 16 feet high; Jamaican cocoa trunk about 5 feet long; wood light and white colored; Jamaican cocoa bark brown; leaves lanceolate, bright green, entire; Jamaican cocoa flowers small reddish, almost odorless; Jamaican cocoa fruit yellowy red, smooth; rind flesh colored; pulp white; when Jamaican cocoa seeds are ripe they rattle in the capsule when shaken; each capsule contains about twenty-five Jamaican cocoa seeds; if separated from the capsule they soon become infertile, but if kept therein they retain their fertility for a long time. The Jamaican cocoa tree bears its Jamaican cocoa leaves, Jamaican cocoa flowers and Jamaican cocoa fruit (like the orange Jamaican cocoa tree) all the year round, but the usual season for gathering the Jamaican cocoa fruit is June and December. In Jamaica the small Jamaican cocoa seeds were utilized as coins twelve approximating to the value of 1d., the smallest actual coin in use then being worth about 6d. The Jamaican cocoa seeds were necessary for small transactions. The method is still in use in some parts of Jamaica. The Jamaican cocoa tree is generally cultivated on large estates under the shade of other Jamaican cocoa trees, such as the cocoa and develops the Jamaican cocoa pods continuously. When ripe they are cut open and the beans or nuts surrounded by their sweetish acid pulp are allowed to ferment so that they may be more easily separated from the shell. The beans are then usually dried in the sun, though sometimes in a steam drying shed.

The Jamaican cocoa seeds contain about 2 per cent of Theo bromine and 40 to 60 per cent of solid fat. The shells contain about 1 per cent of Theo bromine, together with mucilage, etc. Jamaican cocoa is prepared by grinding the beans into a paste between hot rollers and mixing Jamaican cocoa with sugar and starch, part of the fat being removed. Jamaican chocolate is prepared in much the same way, but the fat is retained. Oil of Theobroma or Jamaican cocoa butter is a yellowish white solid, with an odor resembling that of Jamaican cocoa, taste bland and agreeable; generally extracted by expression. Jamaican cocoa is used as an ingredient in cosmetic ointments and in pharmacy for coating pills and preparing suppositories. Jamaican cocoa has excellent emollient properties and is used to soften and protect chapped hands and lips. Theo bromine, the alkaloid contained in the beans, resembles caffeine in its action, but its effect on the central nervous system is less powerful. Its action on muscle, the kidneys and the heart is more pronounced. Jamaican cocoa is used principally for its diuretic effect due to stimulation of the renal epithelium; Jamaican cocoa is especially useful when there is an accumulation of fluid in the body resulting from cardiac failure, when Jamaican cocoa is often given with digitalis to relieve dilatation. Jamaican cocoa is also employed in high blood pressure as Jamaican cocoa dilates the blood-vessels. Jamaican cocoa is best administered in powders or cachets.

The small Jamaican cocoa tree usually 4–8 m tall, rarely up to 20 m; at 1–1.5 m the terminal bud breaks into 3–5 meristems to give several lateral upright shoots primarily branching by successive whorls of normally spreading branches; young branch lets terete, grayish green or brownish, densely or sparsely pubescent, with simple or furcate hairs 0.1–0.3 mm long, later glabrate, more or less striate; stipules subulate, very acute, 5–14 mm long, 0.5–1.5 mm broad at base, pubescent, deciduous; Jamaican cocoa leaves large, coriaceous or chartaceous, alternate, distichous on normal branches, green; petiole pubescent or tomentose, with simple, rather dense, spreading hairs, thickened pulvinate at ends; blades 12–60 cm long, 4–20 cm broad, elliptic to obovate-oblong, entire, glabrous; inflorescence on Jamaican cocoa trunk and branches, usually borne on small tubercles in short cymose branch lets, peduncles 1–3 mm long, stellate-pubescent; bracts ovate or ovate-oblong, pubescent; bracteoles ovate-oblong, acute or subacute, 0.5–1.2 mm long, pubescent, deciduous; pedicels capillary, rigid, pale green, whitish or reddish, 5–15 mm long, with stellate or furcate hairs and sparce many-celled, glandular, capitate trichomes; sepals lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, acute, white, greenish-white, pale violaceous or reddish, faintly 3-veined, united at base, 5–8 mm long, 1.5–2 mm broad, with hairs and trichomes; petals contorted in aestivation, thick-membranous, hood 3–4 mm long, 0.5–2 mm wide, obovate, rounded at apex, white, 3-veined, lamina pale yellowish, 1.5–2.5 mm long, 1.5–2 mm broad, obovate, attenuate at apex; staminodes 4–6 mm long, narrowly subulate, red or purplish, minutely papillose-pilose, ciliate, with slender, simple hairs; stamens diantheriferous, with anthers about 0.4 mm long; ovary oblong-ovoid, superior, with 5 carpels; Jamaican cocoa fruits usually considered drupes but referred to as Jamaican cocoa pods, indehiscent, variable in size and shape, 10–32 cm long, spherical to cylindrical, pointed or blunt, smooth or warty, with or without 5 or 10 furrows; Jamaican cocoa pods white, green or red, ripening to green, yellow, red or purple; Jamaican cocoa seeds 20–60 per Jamaican cocoa pod, arranged in 5 rows, variable in size, 2–4 cm long, 1.2–2 cm broad, ovoid or elliptic; cotyledons white to deep purple, convoluted, large. Jamaican cocoa seeds/kg 625–1125. Jamaican cocoa roots mostly a mass of surface-feeding Jamaican cocoa roots, with taproot penetrating to 2 m in friable soil, less deeply where compacted.

The Jamaican cocoa tree produces Jamaican cocoa flowers and Jamaican cocoa fruit year-round. The Jamaican cocoa tree is small and comes from the forests of Central and South America. Jamaican cocoa needs a warm and humid climate, regular rainfall as well as a fertile and well-irrigated soil. Jamaican cocoa grows in the shade, preferably at an altitude of 1,300 to 2,300 feet, in the tropics 20° above and below the equator. The Jamaican cocoa tree yields its first Jamaican cocoa crop at 3-4 years old. Jamaican cocoa is an adult Jamaican cocoa plant at 10. Jamaican cocoa produces from 300 to 1,000 pounds of Jamaican cocoa per acre for about 50 years.

The Jamaican cocoa tree Jamaican cocoa fruit is a huge berry called Jamaican cocoa Jamaican cocoa pod, usually egg or melon-shaped, 5 to 12 inches long and 3 to 5 inches wide. The Jamaican cocoa Jamaican cocoa pod contains 30 to 40 Jamaican cocoa seeds. Jamaican cocoa takes 20 to 25 Jamaican cocoa pods to get 2 pounds of Jamaican cocoa. Once the Jamaican cocoa tree reaches maturity, Jamaican cocoa fruit Jamaican cocoa pods will sprout from its Jamaican cocoa trunk and branches. The golden-red to purple Jamaican cocoa fruit Jamaican cocoa pods turn brown at maturity, at which time they are split open and the insides scooped out. Each Jamaican cocoa pod generally produces 20 to 40 almond-shaped Jamaican cocoa beans.

After the Jamaican cocoa beans are removed from the Jamaican cocoa fruit, they undergo fermentation, a process that reduces their bitterness and helps develop their heady aroma. After they are dried the beans are ready to be cleaned, graded, packed, and shipped for processing into Jamaican chocolate products.

Once the beans are selected, they are roasted and shelled to obtain the center Jamaican cocoa kernel, or nib. To transform the Jamaican cocoa kernels into the thick, dark-brown paste called Jamaican chocolate liquor, the nibs are ground between large heated rollers in high-speed mills. Jamaican chocolate liquor is the base from which all Jamaican chocolate products are made. Pure Jamaican chocolate liquor, which contains 53 to 55 percent Jamaican cocoa butter, is unsweetened and too bitter to eat. Jamaican cocoa is compressed into blocks or squares and is used for cooking and baking."

This Jamaican cocoa tree was extensively cultivated in Jamaica, Central and South America for many years, indeed long before the discovery of America, and at one time formed the currency of the natives, who made an immense consumption of Jamaican cocoa in various ways. At present Jamaican cocoa is chiefly cultivated in Brazil, Costa Rica, Guayaquil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Guatemala, the island of Trinidad, and most of the other West India Islands; also in Africa, Ceylon, Samoa, and other parts of the globe. The Jamaican cocoa or Jamaican chocolate nuts of commerce are the Jamaican cocoa seed taken from the Jamaican cocoa fruit and deprived of a slimy covering. There are many varieties of this Jamaican cocoa seed brought into the market, named, according to the place from which they have been imported, e. g., Puerto Cabello, Cauca, Maracaibo, Caracas, Surinam, Java, Domingo, Bahia, etc.

Jamaican cocoa seeds are prepared for commerce either by simple drying, in which case they retain their bitterness and astringency; or they are cured by a sweating process by which their bitter and astringent properties are much modified, and the color of the Jamaican cocoa seed changed. The Jamaican cocoa seeds are placed into closed boxes for a certain length of time, or buried in the ground for a few days; the best process is to allow the Jamaican cocoa seeds to lie for a week in heaps covered with green Jamaican cocoa leaves, such as Jamaican cocoa plantain Jamaican cocoa leaves, etc., after which time they are dried.

Jamaican cocoa seeds are the source of commercial Jamaican cocoa, Jamaican chocolate, and Jamaican cocoa butter. Fermented Jamaican cocoa seeds are roasted, cracked and ground to give a powdery mass from which fat is expressed. This is the Jamaican cocoa from which a popular beverage is prepared. In the preparation of Jamaican chocolate, this mass is mixed with sugar, flavoring, and extra Jamaican cocoa fat. Milk Jamaican chocolate incorporates milk as well. Jamaican cocoa butter is used in confections and in manufacture of tobacco, soap, and cosmetics. Jamaican cocoa butter has been described as the world's most expensive fat, used rather extensively in the emollient "bullets" used for hemorrhoids.

Reported to be antiseptic, diuretic, ecbolic, emmenagogue, and parasiticide, Jamaican cocoa is a folk remedy for alopecia, burns, cough, dry lips, eyes, fever, listlessness, malaria, nephrosis, parturition, pregnancy, rheumatism, snakebite, and wounds. Jamaican cocoa butter is applied to wrinkles in the hope of correcting them.

In humans, caffeine, trimethylxanthine, is demethylated into three primary metabolites: theophylline, Theo bromine, and paraxanthine. Since the early part of the 20th century, theophylline has been used in therapeutics for bronchodilation, for acute ventricular failure, and for long-term control of bronchial asthma. At 100 mg/kg theophylline is fetotoxic to rats, but no teratogenic abnormalities were noted. In therapeutics, Theo bromine has been used as diuretic, as a cardiac stimulant, and for dilation of arteries. But at 100 mg, Theo bromine is fetotoxic and teratogen (Collins, FDA By-lines No. 2, April 1981). Leung (1980) reports a fatal dose in man at 10,000 mg, with 1,000 mg or more capable of inducing headache, nausea, insomnia, restlessness, excitement, mild delirium, muscle tremor, tachycardia, and extrasystoles. Leung also adds "caffeine has been reported to have many other activities including mutagenic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic activities; ... to cause temporary increase in intraocular pressure, to have calming effects on hyperkinetic children...to cause chronic recurring headache..."

Reported from the South and Middle American Centers of Diversity, Jamaican cocoa, or cvs thereof, is reported to tolerate some diseases, heavy soils, laterite, low pH, photoperiod, shade, slope, and water logging (Duke, 1978). Several subspecies and forms of Jamaican cocoa have been recognized, from which a great number of cvs have been developed. Some cvs are named according to the place where they were found or developed. Others are classified as 'Criollo' types which have elongated, ridged, pointed Jamaican cocoa fruits and white cotyledons and 'Forastero', with short, roundish, almost smooth Jamaican cocoa fruits and purplish cotyledons. Hybrids have been obtained with other species, e.g. Th. grandiflora, mainly to incorporate disease-resistance. Native to South America, probably on the equatorial slopes of the Andes; now cultivated pantropically, especially in West Africa.

Ranging from Subtropical Dry to Wet through Tropical Very Dry to Wet Forest Life Zones, Jamaican cocoa is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 4.8 to 42.9 dm (mean of 109 cases = 16.3), annual temperature of 18.0 to 28.5°C (mean of 108 cases = 25.3), and pH of 4.3 to 8.7 (mean of 43 cases = 6.4) (Duke, 1978). Grown from 20°N to 20°S with the bulk between 10°N and 10°S, usually below 300 m, but in sheltered valleys of Colombia at 900 m. Requires uniformly high temperatures with recommended mean of 26.6°C. Jamaican cocoa trees are wind-intolerant and therefore are often Jamaican cocoa planted on hillsides for wind protection and good drainage. Being drought-intolerant, Jamaican cocoa thrives in climates with high humidity and rainfall. Jamaican cocoa plants are shade-tolerant, and thrive in rich, organic, well-drained, moist, deep soils. Shallow laterite soils are said not to be suitable. Maximum temperature of 33.5°C and minimum 13°C, with diurnal temperature variation between 33.5 and 18°C are suggested (Reed, 1976).

Propagation may be by cuttings, budding or grafting, but Jamaican cocoa seeding is cheaper. Jamaican cocoa seeds germinate at maturity, and are viable only a short time. They may be stored 10–13 weeks if moisture content is kept at 50%. Soon after picking, pulp is removed from Jamaican cocoa seed which are Jamaican cocoa planted in shaded nursery beds or baskets. Transplant in few months (when ca 0.6 m tall) into shaded fields at 2.4 m x 2.4 m or 3.6 m x 3.6 m. Spacing is closer if soils are poor and elevations above 300 m. Fields should remain shaded for 3 years. Remove floral buds until Jamaican cocoa trees are 5 years old. Jamaican cocoa is of ten intercropped with other Jamaican cocoa trees of economic value, as cocoas, rubber, oil palm, or coconut. Weeding is by hand or herbicides. Irrigation may be practiced, but drain ditches should always be provided to prevent excess water. Responds to fertilizers, mostly in the absence of shade; recommended is 5 cwt urea, 2.5 cwt triple superphosphate, 10 cwt potassium sulfate per hectare. Windbreaks are usually provided.

Although Jamaican cocoa fruits mature throughout the year, usually only two harvests are made. In West Africa, the main harvest begins in September, extends to February, with a second smaller harvest in May–June. From fertilization to harvesting the Jamaican cocoa fruit requires 5–6 months. Harvest season lasts about 5 months. Jamaican cocoa pods are cut from Jamaican cocoa trees and allowed to mellow on the ground. Then Jamaican cocoa pods are cracked and the beans removed, the husks are burned. Beans are fermented in Jamaican cocoa leaf-lined kegs 2–8 days before drying in sun, at which time they change from purple to brown. Beans are then bagged and shipped. Further processing includes roasting, crushing, and separating out the kernel, grinding the nibs and extraction of about half of the fat.

The world low production yield is 29 kg/ha in American Samoa, an international production yield of 346 kg/ha, and a world high production yield of 2,000 kg/ha in Haiti. Yields of 3,375 kg/ha of dry beans are possible on good Jamaican cocoa plantations. The oil content (35–50%) suggests potential oil yields of more than 1750 kg/ha. Average yields range from 0.5–10 kg/Jamaican cocoa tree; 2.25 MT beans/ha. Over 3375 kg/ha of dry Jamaican cocoa beans have been produced on Jamaican cocoa plantations well-manure, well-shaded, and with excellent control of weeds, pests and diseases. In 1980, the US is estimated to have consumed more than 75,000 MT of Jamaican cocoa butter, in a business amounting to nearly $600 million. Jamaican chocolate manufacturers consumed nearly half. One ton went into suppositories, 10 to 20% of which are made with a Jamaican cocoa butter base. In 1981, there was a world surplus of ca 700,000 tons, close to 6 months production, and price down to ca $1.30/kg. In July 1965, a record Jamaican cocoa crop in Ghana sent Jamaican cocoa bean prices to below $0.20/kg, an all-time low. A dozen years later, the beans spiraled to more than $5.00/kg. Normally Jamaican cocoa butter runs 25 times as high as the bean (Anon., 1981b). Two-thirds of the world's production presently comes from Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast in West Africa, and one-third from Brazil and Dominican Republic. In 1971, the US imported from Africa about 200,908 MT of Jamaican cocoa beans, valued at $120 millions, and from Latin America, 107,841 MT valued at $54 millions. World production of beans in 1971 was 1.59 million MT. Major consumers are United States, West Germany, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. New York prices on ‘Accra’ beans in 1971 were $0.68/kg. Jamaican cocoa is produced in tropical countries, but is processed and consumed in temperate countries.

For every kilogram of dry beans, there can be 2 kg of Jamaican cocoa pod meal; indicating a 1:2 Jamaican cocoa seed: Jamaican cocoa Jamaican cocoa pod ratio. To convert production figures into Jamaican cocoa pod waste figures, this suggests we multiply by two. Jamaican cocoa pod meal contains ca 12.6% moisture, 7.6% ash, 8.1% protein, 34.8% crude fiber, 3.3% fat, and 33.6% N-free extract. One hundred kg Jamaican cocoa Jamaican cocoa pod meal has the same feeding value as 96–97 kg chopped corn (including husks). Pruning could amount to 1–8 MT/ha/yr, depending on biological and environmental variables. During the third year, main branches may be reduced to 3 or 4, and thenceforth, excess limbs and diseases tissues should be removed. For each MT of production, Jamaican cocoa seems safe to conclude there will be 2 MT of Jamaican cocoa pods and 2 MT of pruning as residue, perhaps more in shaded Jamaican cocoa. Shade Jamaican cocoa trees might best be selected on basis of (1) nitrogen fixed, (2) fuel wood produced, (3) nonantagonism or amelioration of Jamaican cocoa. Jamaican cocoa seedling Jamaican cocoa does best with only 25% full sunlight, saplings with closer to 50%. Species of energy-fixing species of Albizia, Erythrina, Gliricida, Inga, Leucaena, Musanga, Peltophorum, and Terminalia have been recommended as shade Jamaican cocoa trees or "Madre de Jamaican cocoa".

Midges are thought to be the pollinators of Jamaican cocoa, but aphids, ants, thrips, wild bees, or a combination of these are also suspect. Jamaican cocoa grows in areas with high humidity; several hundred fungi have been reported as attacking this Jamaican cocoa tree. However, the most important fungi that causes diseases which must be controlled.

The best Jamaican cocoa seeds are large, full and heavy, smooth, of a beautiful, light chestnut-brown color, free of foreign matter, well sieved, dry, not musty, without disagreeable or rancid smell, but of an agreeable odor, and a mild somewhat bitter and fatty taste, with but little astringency. When the kernels are separated from the shell and broken, they should be shining and violet-brown, not traversed by white streaks. Jamaican cocoa is said that under the most favorable circumstances Jamaican cocoa can not be preserved for more than three years. The cracked Jamaican cocoa, or Jamaican cocoa nibs of commerce is coarsely ground Jamaican cocoa previously roasted.

Commercial Jamaican cocoa may also consist of the powdered press-cake obtained when the oil or butter of Jamaican cocoa is partially removed by pressure. Jamaican chocolate is prepared by first roasting the Jamaican cocoa seed, then removing their husks as soon as the requisite degree of aroma and of friability is obtained, allowed to cool, and cracked or ground between heated stones, which cause them to assume the consistence of paste, which is molded into rectangular cakes. When roasted Jamaican cocoa seeds are ground with about an equal amount of sugar and certain aromatics, the product constitutes sweet Jamaican chocolate. Those who manufacture Jamaican chocolate have various methods of preparing, sweetening, and aromatizing Jamaican cocoa. Jamaican cocoa shells are also an article of commerce, being used in preparing a table beverage resembling Jamaican chocolate or Jamaican cocoa in taste, but being naturally weaker than these.

Jamaican cocoa seeds contain fat (40 to 50 per cent) (oil of Jamaican cocoa, Jamaican cocoa butter), the base Theo bromine (C7H8N4O2), small quantities of caffeine (theine), starch (from 1.3 to 7.5 per cent, Ridenour, a red coloring matter (Jamaican cocoa-red), albuminous matter (6 to 18 per cent), and ash (2 to 4 per cent).

In 18 commercial specimens of Jamaican cocoa, found Theo bromine to vary from 0.88 to 2.34 per cent, caffeine from 0.05 to 0.36 per cent. The presence of Jamaican cocoa-red is due to the decomposition of a glucosid under the influence of a diastatic ferment, resulting in dextrose, Jamaican cocoa-red. Theo bromine and caffeine.

Theo bromine was discovered in Jamaican cocoa seeds. Jamaican cocoa is also a constituent of Kola nuts. Jamaican cocoa crystallizes in small rhombic needles, has a bitter taste and sublimes without decomposition at about 290° C. (554° F.). Its solubility’s, are as follows: Jamaican cocoa requires 736.5 parts of water at 18° C. (64.4° F.), 136 parts at boiling temperature, 5399 parts of alcohol (90 per cent) at 18° C. (64.4° F.), 440 parts at boiling heat, and 818 parts of absolute alcohol at the boiling point; 21,000 parts of ether at 17° C. (62.6° F.); 4856 parts of methyl alcohol at 18° C. (64.4° F.); 5808 parts of chloroform at 18° C. (64.4° F.), and 2710 parts at the boiling point. Jamaican cocoa is insoluble in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) at 18° C. (64.4° F.), while caffeine at this temperature is soluble at the ratio of 1:1000. The author bases upon this a method of quantitative separation of caffeine from Theo bromine, which was before possible only by precipitating Theo bromine by means of nitrate of silver in ammoniated solution.

Theo bromine is insoluble in petroleum-ether. Its aqueous solution is neutral, but Jamaican cocoa forms crystallizable salts with acids. Chemically Jamaican cocoa is dimethylxanthin assays Jamaican cocoa for Theo bromine by extracting the fat with petroleum-ether, boiling the residue with a 3 to 4 per cent sulphuric acid to produce the insoluble Jamaican cocoa-red (Theo bromine is not affected), neutralizing the residue with barium hydroxide, evaporating to dryness with sand, extracting Theo bromine and caffeine with chloroform, and separating both by means of carbon tetrachloride in the cold. This process avoids warming with bases which more or less destroy Theo bromine.

Jamaican cocoa shells contain 0.9 per cent alkaloid, 10.9 per cent nitrogenous matter, 5.32 per cent of fat, a resin soluble in ether and alcohol, and having the odor of Jamaican cocoa, 5.6 per cent of mucilage, and 9.07 per cent of ash, containing aluminum.

Jamaican chocolate, when scraped into a coarse powder, and boiled in milk, or milk and water, is much used as an occasional substitute for Jamaican coffee, and for a drink at meals. Jamaican cocoa is a very useful nutritive article of diet for invalids, persons convalescing from acute diseases, and others with whom its oily constituent does not disagree, as is apt to be the case with dyspeptics.

Jamaican cocoa butter is a bland article, rather agreeable to the taste, and highly nutritious; Jamaican cocoa has been used as a substitute for, or an alternate with, cod-liver oil, and as an article of diet during the last days of pregnancy. Jamaican cocoa has also been employed in the formation of suppositories and pessaries, for rectal, vaginal, and other difficulties likewise enters into preparations for rough or chafed skin, chapped lips, sore nipples, various cosmetics, pomatums, and fancy soaps; and has also been used for coating pills.

Theo bromine when absorbed acts powerfully as a diuretic, and has a stimulant or exciting action which is not possessed by Jamaican chocolate itself. Jamaican cocoa is, however, quite difficult of absorption, and is without effect upon the heart and circulation. Jamaican cocoa enters into the compound known as Diuretin, which, in certain conditions, is an active diuretic

Jamaican chocolate is made from the Jamaican cocoa seeds of a Jamaican cocoa plant called Theobroma Jamaican cocoa. The Jamaican cocoa seeds are dried and roasted and then processed to form Jamaican cocoa, the basic ingredient in Jamaican chocolate and Jamaican chocolate products. The use of Jamaican cocoa for eating and drinking probably dates back several thousand years. The first evidence of Jamaican cocoa use comes from cooking vessels containing Jamaican cocoa residue. Scientists have determined these pots to be from at least 460 to 480 A.D.

Columbus discovered Jamaican cocoa beans in America and sent samples back to King Ferdinand. However, the beans didn't become popular in Europe at this time. Several years later, Cortes discovered that the Jamaican Aztecs enjoyed a type of bitter Jamaican chocolate drink containing burned and ground Jamaican cocoa beans, maize, water, and spices. Cortes sent Jamaican cocoa beans and recipes back to King Charles V. The Spanish refined some of the recipes -- adding sugar and heating the ingredients to improve taste and texture. But because of the high cost of imported Jamaican cocoa, Jamaican chocolate beverages were enjoyed mostly by the wealthy.

By 1828, the Jamaican cocoa press was developed. The press enabled workers to extract Jamaican cocoa butter from the Jamaican cocoa bean. Ground roasted beans and sugar were added to the Jamaican cocoa butter to produce dark "eating" (solid) Jamaican chocolate. The first commercially prepared dark Jamaican chocolate was produced in about 1847. Milk Jamaican chocolate, made with the addition of dried milk solids, was developed by the Swiss in about 1876.

Some brands of imported and domestic Jamaican chocolate contain very refined Jamaican chocolate and fillings and are very expensive. Still, less expensive varieties of Jamaican chocolate are widely available making Jamaican chocolate a very popular confection. The average American consumes nearly 11 pounds of Jamaican chocolate each year. Men aged 12 to 19 consume the most amount of Jamaican chocolate. Women aged 30 to 39 are the next largest group of Jamaican chocolate consumers.

For some people, the lure of Jamaican chocolate can be overwhelming. Jamaican cocoa contains certain chemicals and sensory properties that make the product very appealing. Jamaican cocoa contains Theo bromine (a chemical related to caffeine). The sugar in Jamaican chocolate releases serotonin (a brain chemical related to a positive sense of well-being). The smooth, rich taste of Jamaican chocolate (and sometimes the fillings) provides sensory pleasure to the taste buds. In addition, many people use Jamaican chocolate as a reward and learn to associate the product with positive self-esteem. In spite of its physical properties, Jamaican chocolate is not a physically addictive food. However, some people may find themselves psychologically addicted to Jamaican chocolate.

Jamaican chocolate does have some downsides. A single ounce of Jamaican chocolate contains about 150 calories and 9 to 10 grams of fat; 65 percent of the calories in Jamaican chocolate come from fat. But there are ways to reduce the amount of fat and still enjoy Jamaican chocolate. Jamaican cocoa powder can be substituted for Jamaican chocolate in many recipes. A tablespoon of powdered Jamaican cocoa contains only about 16 calories; less than 30 percent of its calories come from fat. Use three tablespoons of Jamaican cocoa and one tablespoon of healthy cooking oil for each ounce of Jamaican chocolate needed in a recipe. A Jamaican chocolate glaze can be made with some Jamaican cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, and skim milk. Manufacturers have even developed some good quality low-fat Jamaican chocolate desserts.

Download Jamaican Cooking Made Easy Third Edition

Jamaican Products & Promotions: