After roasting and winnowing (removing the outer shell from the cacao beans) they are ground making cocoa liquor, see the left side of the picture.
Pressure is employed to a part of the cocoa liquor (slightly heated to be in a liquid form) to obtain cocoa butter (fat), see the right side of the picture. Cocoa liquor and sugar are mixed and ground down smaller and smaller for a long time. More cocoa butter is added in addition to emulsifier and flavoring agents, especially vanilla. During the continued grinding the mixture becomes smooth. The next step in the process is called conching: mixing, heating, agitating and aerating for 24 hours to obtain the final velvet-like texture and less bitter flavor.
Before moulding the chocolate into bars or squares it must be tempered. Tempering is done by mixing the melted chocolate at a controlled temperature until the right form of tiny chocolate crystals are formed. This gives the chocolate the right appearance and texture. Then the chocolate is molded and cooled rapidly.
For more information about the process of manufacturing chocolate at a small chocolate factory, see the process description by Grenada Chocolate Company (click About - Tour, and select page).
|Cacao roaster at Theo Chocolate Company, Seattle WA.||Grinding cacao beans at Theo Chocolate Company, Seattle WA.||Grinding cacao beans at Grenada Chocolate Company, Grenada, West Indies.||Making cacao butter at Grenada Chocolate Company, Grenada, West Indies.|
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