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7 Cocoa Processing Steps - Starting From Harvest

riqiFeb27, 2023 noteBy Serena
Cocoa is a beloved ingredient used in many of our favorite desserts, snacks and beverages. However, before reaching our kitchens and taste buds, cocoa goes through several processing steps from the moment it is harvested, it is turned into flavored cocoa beans, which are then processed into cocoa powder and more. In this article, we'll explore the cocoa processing steps in detail.

Step 1: Harvesting
Cocoa beans are the seeds of the cocoa tree, which grows in tropical regions around the world. The trees bear fruit, known as cocoa pods, which are harvested by hand. The pods are cut from the tree using a machete or knife, and the beans are removed from the pod by hand.
Cocoa Processing Steps - Starting From Harvest
Step 2: Fermentation
Once the beans are removed from the pods, they are placed in large containers and covered with banana leaves. The beans are left to ferment for several days, during which time the temperature and humidity are carefully controlled. Fermentation is an important step in the process, as it helps to develop the flavor of the cocoa beans.

Step 3: Drying
After fermentation, the beans are spread out on large trays or mats and left to dry in the sun. Drying can take up to a week, and during this time, the beans are turned regularly to ensure they dry evenly.

Step 4: Roasting
Once the beans are dry, they are roasted to enhance their flavor. Roasting also helps to remove any remaining moisture from the beans. The beans are roasted at a high temperature for a short period of time, and the length of time and temperature varies depending on the type of cocoa bean and the desired flavor.

Step 5: Crushing and Winnowing
The roasted beans are then crushed by a crushing machine into small pieces called nibs. The nibs are then winnowed to remove the outer shell or husk, leaving behind the cocoa nibs.
Cocoa Processing Steps - Crushing and Winnowing
Step 6: Grinding
After roasting, the nibs are ground into a paste called cocoa liquor. The cocoa liquor is then pressed to remove the cocoa butter, leaving behind a solid mass known as cocoa cake. The cocoa cake is then ground into a fine powder, which is cocoa powder.

Step 7: Packaging
Once the cocoa powder is made, it is packaged and shipped to manufacturers around the world. The manufacturers then use the cocoa powder to make chocolate, cocoa butter, and other cocoa products.

In conclusion, cocoa processing is a complex and fascinating process with many steps. From harvesting to packaging, every step is carefully controlled to ensure the highest quality finished cocoa (cocoa butter, cocoa powder, etc.).

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