When cocoa’s scientific name is “Theobroma cacao” with “Theobroma” meaning “food of the gods”, it doesn’t really come as a surprise why people from around the world can’t seem to get enough of this commodity judging from its name alone.
Cocoa was originally used to make a bitter beverage for royalty back in the Mayan empire, but now its production has become a big industry. West Africa is where most cocoa trees are grown today to be processed in the Netherlands and the United States and will eventually land in the hands of consumers around the world for everyday consumption.
Products made from cocoa and it isn’t limited to products for human consumption.
Animal feed can be produced from cocoa husks by cutting it into small flakes and then drying them and then the manufacturers will turn the dried flakes into pellets for the final product.
Cocoa is also used for soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. In order to make soft drinks, manufacturers collect cocoa pulp juice by a process called sweating which is then sterilized and bottled. In the manufacture of alcoholic beverages, the juice collected are boiled, cooled and fermented for days and then distilled.
One of the most recognized products of cocoa has got to be cocoa butter as it is the ingredient for making chocolate and for producing moisturizing cream and soap products. Cocoa butter, just like cocoa powder and cocoa liquor, is made when the cocoa bean is dried and then fermented.
Another of the most recognized cocoa products is cocoa powder. Cocoa powder can be used for almost any foodstuff. Examples of this are chocolate flavored beverages and chocolate flavored desserts like ice cream and cake.
Cocoa is a commodity and is thus traded in the commodity futures market. There are two ways you can trade cocoa and that is in cocoa futures contracts and in cocoa options. Cocoa can be traded at the NYSE Euronext and the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Trading cocoa futures takes some heavy speculative work as you are trading with the expectation that the price of cocoa will rise or fall in your favor.