The Tree
Production of Chocolate from Cacao
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Crillo Beans
from chocovic.es
The dried, fermented Cacao seeds are carefully shipped from their country of origin to the Chocolate manufacturing countries. It is very important to keep the seeds dry during shipment. (This adds to the shipping costs!) I would assume that moisture would encourage further fermentation and rotting... It is worth noting that, like coffee, all of the countries of origin are warm, tropical, and generally poor while the manufacturing countries are cool, northern and primarily and wealthy.

Once at the factory, the seeds are put in revolving drums roasters (or hot air rosters) to produce the roasted beans. (For Cocoa powder the seeds are roasted at 95 to 125 degrees Celsius for about an hour; for Chocolate bars they are roasted for a somewhat shorter time at a slightly lower temperature.) One hundred kilograms of harvested seed becomes 45 kilograms of roasted beans.

After roasting the beans are crushed, broken into tiny fragments called nibs. The fragments of the inner shell are removed from the nibs, usually by air currents. Some processors remove the shell before the first roast, to produce a different flavor. It is common to combine several different Cacaos to create a special "blend".

Then the nibs are finely ground. The finer and smoother this grinding, and the resultant mash, the higher quality the Chocolate will be, all other factors being equal. This paste is called the Liquor, Paste, Mass and a number of other things. Cacao is 54% fat (Cocoa Butter) so the Paste, is the consistency of thick cream!

During grinding (or sometimes before), extra Cocoa Butter is added to the nibs intended for Chocolate bars. I believe that the added Cocoa Butter content ranges from 10% to 30% of the bar.

Adding Cocoa Butter

More extra Cocoa Butter weakens the Chocolate flavor and makes the bar more creamy, less makes it more powdery and flavorful. The challenge, of course, is to make a bar that is both creamy and flavorful (Slitti & Galler do this well!) I have seen only one pure Chocolate bar, Lindenborg Moerk Chokolade (Denmark), which lists the actual percentages of Paste and Cocoa Butter. 57% Kakaomasse, 15% Kakaosmoer, 27% Sukker. Another bar Domori Grand Blend No 1 Dark (Italy) Lists 78% Cacao and 45% Cocoa Butter! I can't figure out if that means that 33% of the bar is Cacao Paste and 45% Cocoa Butter, or if 45% of the 78% Cacao Solids is Cocoa Butter (which would mean 43% of the bar was Cacao Paste and 35% Cocoa Butter). This is a rather large proportion of the bar that is Cocoa Butter. I wish more bars listed the breakdown.

In addition, i have had one bar, Kaoka Noir 70% (France) which listed Cocoa Beans (aka Cacao Paste) as a single ingredient and insisted that it contained the Cacao Mass directly from fermentation, with no extra Cocoa Butter added. I don't completely understand this, but it is interesting. Could that be why 70% is the most common pure bar?

Domori which is very, very creamy, and claims to be 78% Cacao Mass and 45% (of the mass or the bar is not explained) Cocoa Butter, also implies in their extremely flowery prose that there is no added Cocoa butter... and if that is true it really throws everything (and the calculations) out the window -- but they take quite a bit of poetic license throughout their writings so i discount that claim.

I suspect that the sugar and other ingredients are added when the Cocoa Butter is added too. The whole concoction is mixed and ground continually for several hours to make it smooth and to distribute the added Cocoa Butter evenly over all surfaces of all particles. Swiss chocolate manufacturer Rudolph Lindt created a process of rolling and kneading the gritty, grainy raw Cacao Paste into the smooth and rich quality that eating chocolate is known for today. The name for this process, conching comes from the shell- like shape of the rollers used. The longer chocolate (Cacao Paste and sugar, vanilla, extra Cocoa Butter, etc.) is conched, the smoother the bar will be. Then the warm Chocolate is poured into molds and chilled to create Chocolate Bars.

To make Cocoa Powder the pure Cacao Mass (no sugar or extra Cocoa Butter) is put into a press at 425 kg/sq cm which removes some or all of the fat (depending on the time pressed). Firm cakes of Cacao come out of the press which are then ground again to make the fine powder. This process, obviously, creates a surplus of Cocoa Butter, which is used to make Chocolate bars and "white chocolate" as well as other products.

For the lower quality bars, and milk-chocolate-candy, they usually don't use the Cacao Paste directly, but rather combine all of the ingredients at once, using Cocoa Powder instead of the paste. (Ashby says, "Eating chocolate is really Cocoa Powder to which Cocoa Butter has been added.") Most milk- chocolate-candy bars include a fat substitute for the Cocoa Butter, which can be sold for a higher price on the industrial market.

Cacao futures are traded in New York, London & Chicago, among other places. ADM and Cargill, the evil US food giants are becoming major wholesale traders of Cacao beans, primarily for the big 5 Chocolate companies. Unlike the growers, these traders make huge profits, but only a small fraction of the futures are ever converted into actual Cacao sales. I don't understand this, but it smells really bad to me.

Other Products

Outside of Chocolate itself, the primary industrial product from the Cacao tree, is of course, Cocoa Butter. It is useful because of low melting point (body temperature) and non-toxicity, so it is often used in chemical concoctions such as cosmetics, as well as in food.

I have also had a tea (not bad) and a beer (not great) made from Cacao hulls! Youngs Double Chocolate Stout is made from a malt of Cacao hulls and has added dark chocolate!

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