The journey from cocoa tree to chocolate bar is not complex, but it requires several steps, each of which require careful treatment to get the best from the finished product.
Artisan chocolate makers often deal directly with cocoa farmer cooperatives, giving them a say in how the beans are treated from the moment they’re harvested and ensuring the best possible price for cocoa farmers in some of the world’s poorest regions.
The care, skill and attention to detail of everyone involved in making the chocolate in your Cocoa Runners box is what makes it special. It doesn’t just taste good, it does good.
Chocolate making methods vary from maker to maker, but here’s an overview of how it’s made.
Menakao HarvestingThe process begins with harvesting. Ripe cocoa pods are harvested twice a year. The harvest times vary from region to region, but the process of turning it into chocolate begins immediately.
The pods are cut open with machetes and the white pulp containing the cocoa beans is scooped out.
The pods and pulp are placed into large wooden containers, where the pulp is allowed to ferment for five to seven days. During the process, the beans are turned to help them ferment more evenly. This is the first stage in developing the flavour of the chocolate, and part of the reason why a farmer can have a direct impact on the quality of the finished chocolate.
After fermentation, the next step in the process is to dry the beans. This is usually done by spreading them out into a single layer in the sun. Most beans are transferred into sacks and transported around the world after drying, so in order to prevent mold, it’s important that they’re completely dry at this point.
Menakao Drying Beans
The next step in the process is roasting. This is done by the chocolate maker rather than the farmer. A few chocolate companies make their chocolate at source where it grows, but the hot climate required to grow cocoa...