Cocoa Butter Equivalent
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What is cocoa butter equivalent or CBE?

To avoid confusion, CBE is where only a small percentage of cocoa butter is replaced in chocolate. Cocoa butter replacers (CBR) are just that–vegetable fats replace the cocoa butter mostly or entirely.

Some sources will tell you the replacement of cocoa butter is cheaper for the manufacturer. Others would argue health benefits of chocolate..., compromised.

We can't escape the treachery of saturated fat..., it's in so much of the foods we eat. We can however, get a slight understanding of what these fat are (how they are derived), and then pay close attention to the nutrition labels.

A Spot of Tea with Your Chocolate?

New research on enzymatically modified tea seed oil as a partial cocoa butter equivalent (CBE) may lower the manufacturers cost while retaining the ability to temper the chocolate.

With the simple replacement of 5-10 percent tea seed oil of cocoa butter, researchers were able to make dark chocolate that resemble real chocolate made entirely with cocoa butter.

This could eventually mean big savings for manufacturers and it's likely the first step in a new direction for a cocoa butter equivalent...

Cocoa butter replacer (CBR) was prepared by enzymatic interesterification of hydrogenated and solid fraction (SF) of tea seed oil at weight percent ratio of 30:70, using sn-1,3 specific lipase from Thermomyces lanuginosus.

Dark chocolate samples were then prepared with the prepared CBR as a replacement for 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% of cocoa butter (CB) and the effect of the replacement on hardness (as a key quality factor in chocolate) of the chocolate samples was investigated. Results showed that chocolate samples containing 5% and 10% of interesterified sample (EIS), had the closer texture to that of CB chocolate than other samples.

The solid fat content (SFC) profiles also revealed that blending 10% of EIS with CB in chocolate formulation dose not affect the sharp melting point of CB. Based on the results taken from bloom formation, polymorphic structure and sensory evaluation, adding up to 10% of EIS in chocolate formulation reduces the bloom development without adverse affecting the desirable ? crystal formation and sensory qualities in the chocolate samples.

Article Source:; Zarringhalami, S., Sahari, M. A., Barzegar, M. and Hamidi-Esfehani, Z. (2010), Enzymatically modified tea seed oil as cocoa butter replacer in dark chocolate. International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 45: 540?545. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2621.2009.02162.x

Lower in Saturated Fat?

This new combination of tea seed oil and cocoa butter could also lower the saturated fat level in dark chocolate.

That's without distinct affects on the desired β crystal form and "mouth-feel" in the chocolate.

The level of saturated fat in a tablespoon of tea seed oil amounts to about a quarter of saturated fat in cocoa butter based on nutrition facts (

Imagine the nutrition facts for chocolate with cocoa butter, and tea-seed-oil combination (cocoa butter equivalent).

It does seem like a perfect combination and might simply, be a matter of time before tea seed oil completely replaces cocoa butter..., a compound chocolate of course.

My taste buds say "YUMMY!" Who knows, tea seed oil may go beyond a cocoa butter equivalent and replace the replacers..., we will see.

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