Our high grade Shea Butter is ethically and sustainably sourced from Essan, a province in Nigeria. This week I thought I would share with you the process our Shea Butter goes through.
More than 16 million women living in rural African communities collect the Shea nuts and process it into Shea Butter. The women of Essan are a part of this and when you purchase you support this chain. This is why Shea Butter is known as women’s gold!
- Grinding the nuts
- Oil extraction
Step 1: Roasting
The women of Essan roast and dry the Shea nuts (from the Shea tree) on an open fire. It’s incredibly intensive, with the nuts continually turned so that all are evenly dried. The nuts are boiled in water, the traditional method which has been passed down through generations, involves the use of 3-stone cooking stoves.
Step 2: Grinding the nuts
The Shea nuts are put into a machine to be ground. The machine can crack the Shea nuts allowing them to be processed. This process turns the nuts into a paste like texture and allows the next step to begin.
Step 3: Kneading
Whilst the Shea is in a paste like consistency it has to be kneaded. The women of Essan mix the water into this, the more water that is added the lighter the Shea Butter becomes. Cold water is added gradually. This mixing process allows the fat to break away from the Shea Butter cake (the paste texture). Hot water is added to melt the fat and separate it. This is incredibly hard work, made by hand in 40 degree heat! The women of Essan then collect the fat for the next step.
Step 4: Oil extraction
The oil is extracted and cooled. This prevents the Shea Butter from crystallising and becoming grainy. The fat from the Shea Butter is boiled to dehydrate, this allows the Butter to separate and the Shea Butter can then be collected!
Head to our website to watch the video of our Shea Butter being produced! #JoinTheTribe
A fellow triber