This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
It is certain that the Spanish discoverers Pizarro and Cortes learned its use in the Court of Montezuma, and they doubtless brought a knowledge of this nutritious nut into Europe. Cocoa (or more properly, ca-cao) plant has great wax-like leaves and resembles a small magnolia tree. Upon its trunk and large limbs there appear semi-annually a large number of wart-like protuberances, about as large as the smallest pineapple. At first they are green, but when they get red the natives pick them off, crush them in a rude machine, and take from each a handful of seeds about the size and shape of a Lima bean. This is the cocoa. When the beans are thoroughly dried in the sun, they are shipped to the market in gunny sacks, where the chocolate manufacturer gets hold of them. The first operation consists of carefully picking and sorting the beans, the next in roasting them, after which they are crushed and winnowed, which reduces them to the familiar form of cocoa nibs. After the nibs have been carefully ground through warm mills, a portion of the cocoa-butter is extracted. This is valuable for its medicinal qualities. When this first oily extract is removed, the grinding of the cocoa residue proceeds until it has a creamy consistency, which, when cold, assumes the familiar form of pure cocoa.
This, however, is too rich in fatty matter for most stomachs, and in order to prepare the well-known cocoa extract, the cocoa is placed under enormous pressure - 1,200 lbs. to the square inch. This expresses all the remaining cocoa-butter. The dry mass is then taken out, ground, reground, and sifted through seives. This reduces the cocoa to a beautifully fine impalpable powder that constitutes the well-known "Cocoa Extract," which contains all the virtues and aroma of the original nut without its oleaginous drawbacks.