How is chocolate made?
Closeup of an open cocoa fruit showing the seeds inside. From these seeds the chocolate is made
The process of making chocolate begins in the countries of origin with the prefermentation, fermentation and drying of the seeds of the cacao tree.
- Prefermentation: It consists of accumulating the fruits in the shade for about 10 days so that they begin to ferment, losing part of its acidity and improving its aroma.
- Fermentation: The seeds are extracted from the fruit and put to ferment at a warm temperature inside wrappers made with banana leaves for 6 or 7 days.
- Drying: Afterwards, the seeds are put to dry in the sun.
Why do cocoa seeds must be fermented?
Fermentation and drying of the seeds produces physical changes (seed browning, increase of volume and decrease of weight) and chemical changes (less acidity, greater aroma and greater resistance to putrefaction)
All these changes allow the export of the seeds to the industrialized countries, for their subsequent processing of the paste and the cocoa butter.
What processes are performed after the seeds are imported?
The countries importing seeds or cocoa beans process the imported product to make pulp and cocoa butter. Among the processes performed we have basically the following:
- Washing, roasting and brushing of the seeds: with the aim of increasing the taste, the smell and removing the external skin of the seeds.
- Roasting the seeds: the seeds are roasted at temperatures of about 120 ° C which determines the reduction of the tannins and the improvement of the aroma.
- Peeling of the seeds: The husk is then removed from the seed and separated from the powder
- Grinding and shaking of the seeds: The appropriate material from the previous process is milled and beaten at an elevated temperature which allows the separation between the paste of cocoa and part of the cocoa butter.
- Homogenization of the paste: The cocoa paste is subjected to this process to finish extracting the remaining cocoa butter and separating it from the paste.
From the use of one of these two products or the combination of the two all the varieties of chocolate that we know.
More information on cocoa and chocolate in the listing above