cacao nibs

nibs
4.6
based on 57 reviews
try me sample
0.32 oz
75¢
pinch jar
1.4 oz
$6
refill
1.4 oz
$5
large refill
8 oz
$16
view packaging
VARIANTS
nibs
powder - high fat (20-22%)
Cacao nibs are dried and fully fermented beans harvested from the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree. After fermenting (called "sweating") to develop flavor and aroma, the beans are crushed to separate them from their outer hulls, and are sold in this form (or after a slight toasting) as minimally processed. They taste chocolatey with a semi-bitter flavor.

Cacao nibs can be used in baked goods, hot cereals or even snacked on with nuts and dried fruit. They can add a slightly crunchy texture to your smoothie bowls or even ice cream.
QUICK INFO
cacao nibs , nibs
INGREDIENTS
Cacao beans
TASTING NOTES
The flavor profile of cocoa nibs is definitively rich chocolate, albeit sharply bitter as they have no natural sweeteners.
AROMA
Intensely chocolate
CHARACTERISTICS
The texture on the palate is similar to eating chocolate-flavored coffee beans. The cacao beans are fermented, cleaned mechanically, before winnowed into slightly crushed chopped beans.
PLANT PART
bean
PROCESSING / FORM
nibs
BOTANICAL NAME
Theobroma cacao
VOLUME
2 oz (57 g) per 1/2 cup
ORIGIN
Ecuador
BOTANICAL NAME
Theobroma cacao
AKA
cocoa nibs
The Theobroma cacao, or cocoa tree, is thought to be an ancient plant domesticated thousands of years ago in South America. Later, when introduced to Mesoamerican civilizations, it was so highly prized it was referred to it as "food of the gods" and was even used as a form of currency.

There are three main commercial types of cacao: forastero, criollo, trinitario. Our bean is the newly rediscovered and still rare 'nacional.' This prized variety of cacao bean was believed extinct after a disease in 1916 attacked Ecuadorian trees and 95% were subsequently destroyed over a period of three years. This variety's characteristic white bean and complex fruit and floral flavors that had once dominated the market were thought lost to history until recently when a pair of men sourcing fruit rediscovered the variety on small isolated farms in a Peruvian canyon in 2007. Newly cultivated for larger production, this still rare variety offers rich creamy flavor with very little bitterness.
CONFUSIONS

Cacao v Cocoa
Cacao and cocoa are used so often interchangeably that even vendors disregard any technical differences when naming products. 'Cacao' has traditionally referred to ingredients not processed using heat. 'Cocoa' powder has either been heated or has had ingredients added to transform it into a ready-mix cocoa for drinks or both.

Cacao = natural, more bitter
Roasting helps reduce bitterness and can be employed a different points throughout the production process as a way to soften the bite in cacao's chocolatey flavor.

Dutched Cocoa
Alkalization of the cacao will also decrease its bitterness, which is done with a potassium carbonated solution that will neutralize the acidity. This process yields 'Dutched cocoa.' Dutched cocoa is darker in appearance, more soluble in water, and is used in many modern chocolates. NOTE: In baking Dutched cocoa can not be swapped with other powders without accounting for the pH difference. Leavening ingredients in a recipe are usually in proportion to the expected pH of the powder.

USAGE HINT

Toasting raw cacao nibs in a dry pan for a few minutes can reduce bitterness. Toasting can also add a nutty crunch to the texture of cocoa nibs.

QUICK FACT

Grinding cacao nibs doesn't produce a powder in the way one might expect. The high fat content (cocoa butter) means that the nibs will become a syrup or "liquor" when ground. Chocolatiers will add more fat, and of course sugar and other ingredients, to this liquor to produce their luxurious product.

To achieve powder from nibs requires extraction of the cocoa butter they contain. The resulting liquor from grinding nibs (mentioned above) is processed using a hydraulic press or similar to separate out the fat (cocoa butter). Though the composition of the nib liquor is about 50% fat, 50% powder; processors will chose to leave between 10-24% of the fat in the powder to improve its flavor and smoothness.

 

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REVIEWS (57)