Van Houten has been manufacturing cocoa powder since 1828, when its founder, Coenraad Van Houten, pioneered a process to manufacture cocoa in Amsterdam, Holland. The result was a tastier and more soluble cocoa powder which spurred the growth of the hot chocolate drink industry.
Cocoa mass was treated with alkaline salts to remove the bitter taste and make cocoa solids more water-soluble; the resulting product is called “Dutch process” chocolate. Today, this process is known as “Dutching”. The final product, Dutch chocolate, has a dark colour and a mild taste.
Riding on its success, Van Houten expanded rapidly and by the end of the 19th century, it had expanded into the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Germany. By then, the Van Houten name was synonymous with high quality cocoa powder.