One of the concepts that confound any typical consumer of chocolate would be the manufacturing process. To make the cocoa beans into bars of chocolate is the task at hand, and it is seen as a complex job since it involves multiple steps of crushing and condensing. If you are keen on learning the process, this should be the best start. We know that although everyone loves the taste of chocolate, not many of you might be aware of the different stages the cocoa beans pass through before releasing the final product. The harvest, transportation, transformation, and packaging of the cocoa beans and the chocolate bars is an interesting process to follow. Finished chocolates are crafted into bars and confections to melt right into your palette. Let us take a look at the detailed breakdown of every step involved in the manufacture of chocolate.
1. Cultivation of Cocoa
The cocoa trees are the primary source of chocolates, and these grow in a mix of hot temperatures, shade, and rain. Oval fruits or pods are borne by every tree. These will contain around 30-50 seeds, which are also called cocoa beans. Another word that is commonly mistaken for cocoa is cacao. Both these have their individual stages of processing in the whole layout of the manufacture of chocolate. Cocoa is a term usually used for the beans once they have been fermented, dried, and roasted, whereas the seed in their initial form is referred to as cacao.
The cacao pods that hang from the trunk can be plucked once they are a yellow or orange color. Although the pods can be harvested continually, the ripening pods are typically harvested only twice per year. Once these pods have been chopped off, they are opened to remove the seeds.
A white pulp surrounds the beans during harvest. This is left on the beans even after they have been cleaned. When the seeds have been exposed to light, the beans turn purple. It is only after this process where the beans are given a slight flavor by the pulp that they will be fermented. Two fermentation methods using banana leaves are most commonly employed in every region the cocoa beans are indigenous to.
4. Drying and Shipping
All the fermented beans should be dried carefully by placing them on wooden boards or bamboo mats for more than seven days. Once these beans have been dried, they are packed and shipped on the international market.
5. Preparation of Cocoa Liquor
When the processor receives the beans, they are blended with other ingredients to form a stronger flavor. Liquor is created by finely grinding the nibs that have been separated from the shells by winnowing.
6. Chocolate Production
The cocoa mass is mixed with cocoa butter and sweetener to form the final mix, which ground and kneaded with other ingredients. This is done in a conching machine. Once these processes are done, the chocolate is tempered, molded, and packed.