How Chocolate Is Made - From Bean to Bar
We’ve told you that chocolate really does grow on trees and now we’re going to give you a basic step by step guide on how chocolate is made.
1. Harvesting - The rugby ball shaped pod, once ripened, is picked by hand and collected into baskets. One worker can harvest around 1500 pods per day, enough to produce 55kg of chocolate.
2. Fermentation & drying - Fermenting the beans helps develop the cacao flavour and can take 2-8 days, without fermentation there will not be any chocolate flavour. The beans are then dried in the sun, spread by hands and turned over by hand or foot. This can take 1-2 weeks.
3. Roasting - Roasting the beans brings out the chocolate aroma by drying and browning shells at temperatures between 100ºC and 150ºC. This stage is crucial in order to produce a high quality, good tasting final product.
4. Winnow & grinding - Winnowing the beans removes the shells leaving only the cocoa nib, which is the key ingredient to making chocolate. Machines are used to break the beans leaving the nibs remaining. The nibs are then ground into a paste called chocolate liquor.
5. Blending & tempering - The chocolate liquor is then blended with cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla and sometimes milk depending on the type of chocolate being produced. The final process of tempering heats the chocolate blend to 50ºC to melt the crystals, cooled to 27ºC, then reheated to 31ºC to get the chocolate to the perfect consistency.
Making chocolate is a complex and long process for the cocoa farmers, and it is amazing to think about what is produced at the end of an intense harvest.