Cocoa liquor, made from ground, roasted and fermented cocoa beans, is considered the raw material for the production of the various cocoa byproducts currently sold (the proportion of liquor in the final product being what determines how dark it is the chocolate).
Cocoa powder results from the removal of cocoa butter from the liquor, solid chocolate results in the combination of liquor, cocoa butter and sugar, milk chocolate is made with the addition of condensed or powdered milk to the chocolate mixture , and white chocolate contains only cocoa butter combined with sweeteners and dairy products.
The quality and flavor of cocoa products depend heavily on the various processing steps starting from very early on through cultivation, storage, fermentation, drying and packaging.
Cocoa and its by-products are very rich sources of bioactive components, such as polyphenols. These have several properties that contribute to the various benefits of cocoa as its cardioprotective effects (due to its antioxidant activity), immunoregulatory properties and beneficial effects on the endothelium. But not only the presence of polyphenols makes cocoa one of the most nutritionally interesting foods.
Cocoa butter contains a mixture of monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. In the monounsaturated fraction, oleic acid is predominant (as in olive oil). In the saturated fraction palmitic and stearic acids are present. Stearic acid is a very particular saturated fatty acid since it does not raise serum lipid levels in the same way as the others. Thus, while palmitic fatty acid is associated with increased LDL levels, stearic fatty acid does not. Regarding the high content of insoluble fibers in the cocoa bean, most of these are lost during cocoa processing.