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From Cocoa bean to Chocolate


Published by Admin March 06,2023


Cocoa is usually grown on small family owned plots of land, although there are some plantations being established in Asia. In Ghana the main species of cocoa grown is called Forastero, and plantations account for only 1% of cocoa production there. Most species of cocoa tree produce two crops per year. The cocoa pods ripen and are ready for harvesting around 5 to 6 months after pollination. In Ghana, the main harvest (70% of the year's crop) is between October and January, with a smaller, secondary crop ready in June. The giant pods, which look like yellow rugby balls, grow straight out of the trunk and branches of the tree.


Cocoa chocolate


Harvesting is very labour intensive; the farmers cut the pods from the trees which has to be done carefully in order to avoid damaging the rest of the tree. The pods are then split open with huge sharp bladed knives and the slimy pulp containing the beans is scraped out. Again this needs to be done precisely in order not to damage the beans. There have been attempts to develop machines to undertake this work, but mechanised cutting systems often damage the cocoa beans and so are not widely used.

Cocoa chocolate


PRIMARY MANUFACTURING -- The beans are sorted and cleaned and then roasted at between 120ºC - 149ºC. The roasting develops the colour and is the second stage in the development of the chocolate flavour that began during fermentation on the cocoa farm. After roasting the beans are crushed to release the internal "nib" from the shells. They are then blown through an air tunnel. This winnowing process blows the shell fragments up and away from the cocoa nibs. The nibs are then ground into a thick brown liquid called cocoa mass. This is made up of rich cocoa butter (55-60%) with fine cocoa particles suspended in it. The cocoa mass is then heavily pressed until the cocoa butter is squeezed out, and it is separated into cocoa powder and cocoa butter. The cocoa powder can then be used in chocolate drinks, confectionary and cooking.


Cocoa chocolate

SECONDARY MANUFACTURING -- Cocoa butter and cocoa mass is combined in varying proportions and the sugar and milk for milk chocolate is added. This mixture is then stirred continuously over several days in a process called 'conching' which gives the finished chocolate its smooth, silky texture. It is then cooled slowly, whilst it is still moving in the machine.
This is called tempering. The resulting mixture is called couverture and forms the basis of most finished chocolate products. It can then be moulded into chocolate bars, poured over individual confectionary items, shaped into eggs and used in ice cream.

White chocolate has no cocoa powder, only cocoa butter and sugar. Other ingredients such as nuts can be added, as well as any flavourings that the manufacturer puts in. A lot of English chocolate also has vegetable fat added. Divine only uses cocoa butter, which, because of its melting temperature, gives it the luxurious melt in the mouth feel, the added lecithin is not genetically modified and the vanilla is natural rather than synthetic. Once the chocolate is ready, it is wrapped and packed, transported to large handling warehouses and then finally distributed to the shops where you, the consumer, can buy it.

Cocoa chocolate

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