Coenraad Johannes Van Houten - Cocoa Press

Cocoa Press

In 1828 Casparus van Houten Sr. (and not his son, who is usually credited) patented an inexpensive method for pressing the fat from roasted cocoa beans. The center of the bean, known as the "nib," contains an average of 54 percent cocoa butter, which is a natural fat. Van Houten's machine - a hydraulic press - reduced the cocoa butter content by nearly half. This created a "cake" that could be pulverized into cocoa powder, which was to become the basis of all chocolate products.

The introduction of cocoa powder not only made creating chocolate drinks much easier, but also made it possible to combine chocolate with sugar and then remix it with cocoa butter to create a solid, already closely resembling today's eating chocolate.

In 1838 the patent expired, enabling others to produce cocoa powder and build on Van Houten's success, experimenting to make new chocolate products. In 1847 English chocolate maker J. S. Fry & Sons produced arguably the first chocolate bar. Later developments were in Switzerland, where Daniel Peter introduced milk chocolate in 1875 and Rodolphe Lindt made chocolate more blendable by the process of conching in 1879.

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