Did you know that cacao is a fermented food?
- Cocoa beans occur in the fruit pods of the tree, Theobroma cacao.
- The beans are embedded in a viscous, sugary pulp and after harvesting the beans and pulp are removed from the pods.
- Microbial fermentation of the beans and pulp occurs naturally, which degrades the pulp and facilitates subsequent drying of the beans.
- The dried beans are then bagged and shipped to the US.
- We inspect the cacao beans to remove inferior beans and debris.
- Then roast the beans in a fluid bed roaster to develop flavor. This is also an important food safety step.
- We crack and winnow the cooled beans to separate the nibs from the husk.
- Then grind and conch in a melangeur – a bowl that crushes the nibs between granite stones to produce a warm liquid. The cacao nib is 50% cocoa butter that melts under shear by the stones. We add unrefined sugar (20-30% of total mass) and continue for at least two days. A key objective is to grind the cacao and sugar solids down to a particle size of under 20 microns for a smooth texture. The long grind time is also important for flavor development.
- Now temper & mould chocolate into bars. Tempering is a precise temperature profile that produces the desirable beta-crystal form of cocoa butter. This leads to the characteristic chocolate bar shine, snap and pleasant mouth-melting.
- Finally wrap and store the bars.
- There is no dairy/gluten/nuts/soy in our facility.