The tender transfiguration of cacao beans into a delicious chocolate bar is an intricate process. For every step, this journey calls for a profound understanding of cacao beans and the subsequent chocolate that is derived from it.
Starting with the elementary steps, the process then evolves to become more elaborate and detailed. Different companies may choose to do things differently, but the primary tasks remain the same.
- Harvesting the Cacao Pods: Chocolate is birthed from the cacao pods that grow on th cacao tree, which is usually found in tropical climates. We find the cacao pods in the trunks and branches of the tree. It exhibits the features of both fruit and flower. Special care is taken towards choosing the ripened pods.
- Fermenting: After opening the pods, the beans are kept in the open. As they come in contact with oxygen, the fermentation begins. Mixing and turning the beans enables this process and the temperature naturally rises to 40-50°C. This step is integral in developing the cacao flavour and can last for up to eight days, depending on the type of the bean.
- Drying: Due to the presence of excessive moisture in the beans, the next step in the journey involves drying of the beans so that the beans are not over-fermented.
- Roasting: Cacao Beans are then roasted to enhance their flavour, reduce remaining moisture and also eliminate any bacteria that might be stuck to the beans.
- Cracking and Winnowing: After the beans are roasted, they are cracked to let them shed their outer layer and leave behind the cocoa nibs. The cocoa nibs make chocolate, whereas the antioxidant-packed shells can be used for other purposes, such as making cacao tea or even garden fertiliser.
- Grinding and Conching: Grinding the nibs produces a cocoa mass, which is a paste that includes cocoa solids and cocoa butter (natural fat of the bean). Conching refers to the step where a surface scraping mixer and agitator, known as a conche, evenly distributes cocoa butter in chocolate and gives the chocolate a glossy texture, thereby reducing the moisture
- Tempering: After mixing the ingredients successfully, tempering helps in giving the chocolate a shiny and consistent finish. This is done by raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate to allow the crystallization process of cocoa butter. It takes a bit of science to master this step perfectly
- Moulding: This is where most chocolatiers have fun with their products! The chocolate mix is now poured into moulds of different shapes and sizes to let it set. The mould is tapped against a hard surface to get rid of air bubbles which can make the chocolate crumbly.
- Packaging: The moulded chocolate is now wrapped and packed into their brand packaging and is ready to be relished by its consumers!
Expertise and the know-how of the processing of chocolates is very essential to create an ever-lasting experience for the consumers. Kokomaē follows each and every step with utmost care and attention. The quality of the chocolate is far more valuable to us than just presenting the product in the market. We want to ensure an extraordinary experience for everyone as they bite into the delicious Kokomaē chocolate.