That breathtaking feeling when you open the box of chocolate, the amazing smell and that creamy and chocolaty flavor. Ah! That feeling. Eating a chocolate is so easy, right? You just need the perfect mood and your favorite bar. But have you ever wondered how your box of happiness is made? The journey of cocoa beans to take a shape of the bar is not complicated but it definitely has to go through various stages.
So, we’ll be telling you how the process is done so that next time when you have your chocolate, you know the hard work behind it. Let’s appreciate the dedication and efforts of farmers and chocolate makers too.
The process begins with the harvesting that takes place twice a year from November to January and May to July. The harvest time depends on different regions but the process of making chocolate starts immediately.
First, the fruits are hand-picked and once harvested from the trees, pods are cut open and the white pulp containing cocoa beans are removed. According to experts, soil type, climatic conditions, and other geographical factors create a huge effect on the beans and also on the chocolate’s flavor.
Next, comes the fermentation process in which pods and pulp are placed into large fermentation boxes. The pulp goes through a fermentation process of 5-7 days. This is considered the first stage in creating the flavor of the chocolate where the beans become brown and bitterness subsides.
The fermentation process is really very important; otherwise, farmers will have to face direct consequences regarding the quality of the final chocolate.
After the fermentation is done, the next step includes drying of the beans. The process is done in such a way that all the beans are spread out into a single layer in the sunshine to dry. Generally, the beans are dried out for about 14 days.
After drying, the beans are packed into sacks and transported all over the world. At this point, make sure that the beans are completely dry to prevent any mold.
This process is done by a chocolate maker and not by a farmer. Mainly, the chocolate is made where the climate is cold and the process and equipment needed for roasting depend on the chocolate maker. In many places, standard ovens are used while others use the systems specially designed to rotate and roast the beans more uniformly and precisely.
The roast time and temperature also depend on the chocolate maker. The process of roasting is done to sterilize the beans, improves flavor and also makes the upcoming processes much easier.
Cracking and Winnowing
The roasted cocoa shells are covered with thin and papery shells that are needed to be removed. The process includes cracking of beans and shell is removed through winnowing.
The shells are blown away with the help of the fan and the pure cocoa bean i.e. nibs are left behind.
Grinding and Conching
Next step is grounding where the nibs are ground either with the help of a machine or between two stones. After that, a liquid mass known as cocoa liquor is made. And when more grinding and sugar come together, chocolate is made.
Then comes conching, where cocoa mass is mixed. The thing is mixed continuously at a specific temperature to create flavor and to remove any moisture and break down large pieces. The process needs hours to days and that depends on your desired results. For your information, the finest chocolate is made after conching for 5 days.
Here comes the next step called tempering where the chocolate is heated slowly and then cooled. This allows the cocoa mass to become solid and stable.
This process is very important or else your chocolate will not harden well and also will separate.
The wait is over because the final step of making the chocolate bar is here. This step includes pouring of melted chocolate into plastic bar-shaped moulds and the air bubbles are removed if any. Large chocolate makers have big machines and conveyors that allow the exact amount of chocolate to be poured down in the moulds while small manufacturers still complete this part by hand.
Now, once the chocolate gets cool, it is wrapped and sent out.
Again, large chocolate makers are ready with their big machines to complete the process while small manufacturers are still doing it by hand.