The First operation carried out by chocolate makers is cleaning the beans, that is assuring that all extraneous material is separated from the bean: dirt, stones, etc. The beans are then roasted at anywhere between 100 to 150 degrees centigrade for between 20 and 40 minutes depending on the quality of the beans and the desired aroma of the final product. Once roasted the shell becomes very brittle and is separated from the bean (nib) by way of vibration. The separation of the shell from the bean or nib is called winnowing or shelling.

Nibs of different origins are then blended in accordance to the recipe for the desired chocolate to be processed. These are then ground in high speed mills at high temperature (50 to 70 degrees centigrade / 120 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit). The nibs are thus transformed into a viscous paste or mass called Cacao Liquor and the manufacture of chocolate begins.

Part of the production of Liquor is pressed in order to extract cacao butter, an essential ingredient in the making of chocolate, and reserved.

The process begins by mixing the ingredients for the desired chocolate, that is cacao liquor, sugar, vanilla, part of the cacao butter (and milk of the final product is milk chocolate). This mass is then passed through roller mills and refined to reduce the particle size to less than 22 microns.

The next phase is called conching. This stage was invented by a Swiss named Rudolph Lindt, which eliminates the last traces of moisture and acids natural to cacao, and brings out the taste, texture and aroma of the chocolate as well as the final smoothness. The mass is placed into conches where it is slowly kneaded and smoothed. It is at this stage where the remainder of cacao butter is added to the mass, which gives the final product the proper texture and shine.

Once the chocolate has reached the desired texture it is pumped into holding tanks in preparation for the final stages of production. The final stage begins by tempering the chocolate. This is done by briskly reducing the temperature of the chocolate that has been in holding tanks from around 40 degrees centigrade to about 28 degrees. The temperature is then gently raised to around 32 degrees depending on the contents of the mass. This procedure initiates the crystallization or hardening of the chocolate. Proper tempering is very important because this will ensure the final color, shine and stability of the final product.

It is at this stage, when the chocolate begins crystallizing that it is poured into moulds. The mould are vibrated to extract any air bubbles that may have formed and then enter a refrigerated tunnel where the chocolate is solidified. The very last stage involves unmolding and wrapping the chocolate.

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