LONDON, June 28 — Cacao beans are rich in nutritional goodness — and that includes its juice!

You may not have known it but a kind of water with superfood properties can be obtained by squeezing all the pulp that covers the fresh beans.

While many pastry chefs and cooks are still experimenting with ways to use this mucilage, a whole new thirst-quenching offering is taking shape. And it could well steal the show from coconut water.

If you thought you had already tasted everything cocoa-related think again! It’s possible that cacao water has so far escaped your attention, largely because it’s only recently made it onto the market.

While the food industry and foodies are aware that the fruit of the cocoa tree can be used in many ways — beans are dried to be melted into bars, nibs can be ground and infused into dessert preparations, the pod can be turned into compost to enrich cocoa crops with nutrients and increase yields — the full potential of raw material has yet to be exploited.

According to entrepreneur Oded Brenner, about 70 per cent of the fruit is considered waste, according to an interview given to specialist trade publication Food Navigator.

The businessman intends to demonstrate that the cultivation of cacao can be made more profitable by using all the components of its famous pod.

To do this, he has created a new American brand called Blue Stripes.

This July, a brand new product from his range will be available on the shelves of Whole Foods, a major player in distribution, and it’s arriving at the right time with the summer heat.

The product is cacao water.

The liquid is extracted from the pulp surrounding the fresh beans via a cold pressure extraction method. The brand notes that this cloudy cacao water is both thirst-quenching and tasty, with a kind of “sour” lemonade-like flavor with a hint of vanilla.

But in fact, this may be a new product but consuming the pulp, referred to as the mucilage, is not actually a new trend. The South American workers who harvest the pods have long been used to sucking this white material like candy.

So why could cacao water become the new big thing?

The nutritional merits of cacao are often praised, with an emphasis on its antioxidant properties as well as the presence of theobromine, which has energising effects.

Cacao water offers both these qualities. A 300ml bottle would have twice the antioxidant power of a handful of blueberries. This drink also allows the consumer to get a good dose of magnesium.

These are some of the reasons why the recipe has already caught on with one category of consumers: athletes.

In the US, gym-goers have already started to replace their overly sweet energy drink with this elixir, happy to have a more environmentally friendly alternative.

“I think two to three years from now we’ll see way more companies doing cacao fruit beverages,” Oded Brenner told Food Navigator. — ETX Studio