How much more expensive is cocoa butter compared to cocoa solids?

My numbers on this are three years old, reader Maria, but in 2008 you could buy unrefined chocolate liquor — on an industrial scale — for about $1.60 per pound. Separating the cocoa solids from the cocoa butter is a necessary first step in manufacturing chocolate. But separated out, the cocoa would sell for $0.60 per pound. The separated and filtered cocoa butter, on the other hand, sold for $3.00 a pound. No wonder couverture, which requires so much more cocoa butter, costs so much.

8 thoughts on “How much more expensive is cocoa butter compared to cocoa solids?”

    1. Hello Roarke. I wouldn’t know where to go for pure cocoa butter I’m sorry to say. It is possible to buy it at sites that sell supplies for people who make cosmetics. But I can’t say I’m completely sure if that’s food grade or not. Seems like it would be, but you’d need to inquire as to whether anything has been added to it. As for the food grade stuff, I’m really not sure. You could try a candy making supply. That’s where I’d start looking. Best of luck! – Joe

  1. Dear Joe,

    I had written in earlier asking you to explain the difference between couverture and regular eating chocolate. Thanks for the prompt and informative reply. Just one more query…does couverture have added sugar to it and can it be used to substitute regular chocolate in baking in what so ever form say chocolate chips, melted chocolate etc.

    1. Hi Gauri! Couverture does indeed have sugar in it. Quite a bit, in fact. However because it contains so much cocoa butter it’s a poor choice for baking, at least if you want the chocolate pieces to retain their shape in the finished product. The cocoa butter causes the chocolate to melt completely in the oven. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you want. Hope that answers the question! – Joe

  2. When manufacturers make cocoa powder, do they first remove all the cocoa butter, then and add some back?

    This price difference makes me appreciate those manufacturers who produce a full-fat cocoa (20-24% cocoa butter) versus those who produce a low fat one (10% cocoa butter).

    1. Hey Julie! Yes, the first step in processing chocolate liquor is separating out the base components: the solids and the cocoa butter. It makes subsequent formulation a whole lots easier (plus it makes the solids easier to grind finely). After that processors do all sorts of things, including add some of the cocoa butter back into the mixture.

  3. Many of the online suppliers of couverture also sell pure cocoa butter, such as King Arthur, Albert Uster, Chocosphere, and Lepicerie. It’s a wonderful addition to vanilla buttercreams.

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