Our Chocolate Making Process
Our chocolate requires a 9-step process to be able to craft each individual chocolate bar from the cacao beans to a packaged bar ready to enjoy. These processes, each varying in time and complexity, will take us from 48-72 hours to complete. Below, we will guide you through what this 9-step process entails for us to be able to bring you a completed chocolate bar.
We begin our journey with dried and fermented cacao beans from the farms. This is crucial for flavor development as well as removing many of the bitter or astringent properties of the cacao. We then take this cacao and process it in house using the steps below:
Step 1: Sorting
Before each batch, we manually separate all of the good beans from the unusable ones. These can be what we call "flats" which contain little to no seed which we then turn into chocolate. We also remove any broken beans, nibs, loose husk and other foreign material which can vary from twigs, dried pulp, etc.
Step 2: Roasting
Roasting is one of the biggest determiners of the flavor of chocolate alongside the ferment and inherent genetics of the cacao. Each cacao has its own distinct roasting profiles which will draw out specific notes of the cacao, which can vary from the fruity tones to nutty and other earthy tones.
Photo credit: Cacao Barry
Step 3: Cracking
Once roasted and cooled, we then take the whole cacao beans and break them into little pieces. The husk is still present, which will affect the mouthfeel and flavor, so we need to now remove the husk from the nibs (the inside part of the cacao beans).
Step 4: Winnowing
Due to husk weighing much less than the nibs, we can separate, or winnow, the husk from the nibs using a fan or with suction. We can now use both the nibs to make chocolate and the husk to brew into our cacao tea ensuring that nothing goes to waste.
Step 5: Grinding
This process is what is going to reduce the particle size from the cocoa nib all the way down to around 20 microns over the course of 24+ hours via stones revolving over and over to crush the nibs. At this point, we begin to lose any grittiness on the palate and creates what we know as the creamy or silky texture.
Step 6: Conching
Also very crucial in flavor and textural development, conching will allow the chocolate to volatilize some of the acids naturally found in the chocolate, removing bitter or astringent tastes to the chocolate as well as, in a microscopic level, start rounding out the jagged particles from the grinding process further enabling the silky texture.
Step 7: Tempering
Tempering is also very important. Without it, we are left with what we call "fat bloom". This is the white-looking fat crystals that you find when a chocolate bar melts and cools back down. As we hand-temper, we are generating Type 5 crystals and then melting away the lower 4 forms of crystal structures in the chocolate to get the shiny, snappy chocolate that will melt in your mouth versus the powdery-textured chocolate that would quickly melt on your hands.
Step 8: Molding
We then take the now tempered chocolate and pour it into our polycarbonate molds to create our chocolate bars or the shells for our confections. Because of the mold's incredibly smooth finish, the chocolate will obtain a gloss that cannot be achieved via tempering alone. We then cool the bars back down to finish crystalizing them as they solidify in the molds to then pop out the individual bars.
Step 9: Packaging
We finally sticker, date and fill the package with the chocolate bar and hand-seal them. The chocolate bar is now finally ready to be consumed and enjoyed!
We hope you enjoy this labor of love that we undergo to be able to bring you the highest quality of chocolate that we have come to know and love. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us via our Contact Page.