Producer and Distributor of Unrefined, Handcrafted, Fair Trade Shea Butter. Chemical Free, No Parabens, All Natural.


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Agbanga Karite

Making Agbanga Karite Shea Butter in Central Togo

The shea nuts that we use to make our pure, unrefined shea butter are collected from wild shea trees over a vast area in central and northern Togo, a West African country located between Ghana and Benin. Our cooperative members use centuries old extraction techniques to produce a truly exceptional shea butter. The steps below give a brief outline of the process. Go directly to our shea butter slide show showing the steps in producing our traditional shea butter.

  1. After the shea fruits are collected, they are steamed to cause the kernel inside to shrink away from the shell. This is done so the kernels are not damaged when the shells are removed.

  2. Once the shells are cracked and the kernels are extracted, the shea kernels are placed in the sun to dry for a prolonged period. The extensive drying is necessary for the shea nuts to maintain their shelf life of five years.

  3. The dried shea kernels are inspected and sorted to remove the undesirable kernels before they are brought to our Sokode center. Before we store them in our warehouse, the shea kernels are washed with potable, clean water to remove all dust and debris and dried thoroughly. This step is crucial in making our clean, creamy theraputic grade shea butter.

  4. After inspecting the dried kernels once again, we crush them in a large, wooden mortar or with an electric grinder.

  5. The crushed shea kernels are grilled slightly to reduce the water content to a desirable level.

  6. The next step is to grind the roasted and crushed shea kernels into powder. This is done either with a grinding stone or an electric mill.

  7. The shea kernel powder is placed in a clean basin and mixed with clear, potable water. The shea mixture is whipped by hand until the color changes. The kneading process takes anywhere from one to three hours. When white spots appear, warm water is added. This causes the shea fats to rise to the surface and separate from the non-oil partition.

  8. The shea fats are collected and heated slightly to remove any remaining moisture. The clear oil is gravity filtered into clean basins to cool. The time from selecting the nuts until this step takes from 10 to 14 hours.

  9. After the shea oil has cooled down, it is stirred very carefully to initialize the crystallization process and form the shea butter. This part of the process is very critical and requires a lot of experience.

  10. The final step is to pour the partially crystallized butter into our containers, where it continues to crystallize. The containers are stored in cool storage rooms until they are shipped to our distribution centers.

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