Making Chocolate: The 35 Day Process
STEP 1: QUALITY CONTROL
We taste, smell and check the colour/size of the beans to make sure that they meet the our criteria for quality.
STEP 2: SORTING
Cacao is harvested, fermented & dried outside at the origin country. Given that the cacao is a natural product that is hand harvested, there is sometimes debris that comes along for the ride, so it’s important that the cacao be sorted at our facility to remove any branch fragments or leaves that may have come from the farm.
STEP 3: ROASTING
We roast the beans for 12 to 20 minutes, depending on the variety and its origin. We only have a small oven, so this is done in very small batches on perforated sheets. Roasting is done for two reasons; it develops the flavour of the bean and it kills any remaining microbes or pathogens from the fermentation process that happens before the beans are shipped to us.
STEP 4: WINNOWING
Winnowing is the process of removing the shell that surrounds the cocoa nibs (essentially, this is the ‘meat’ of the bean which is used for chocolate). We have a specialized piece of equipment that does the job quickly and efficiently. It essentially cracks the bean, sorts and funnels the nibs to a bin to use in chocolate, and the unusable shell goes into another bin as this is not used in the chocolate making process.
STEP 5: REFINING
The cocoa nibs are then added to our refiner to make a chocolate liquor (not to be confused with ‘liqueur’). The refiner is essentially a large drum that spins with with two large granite wheels that crush the nibs into finer particles, aiming for a size of 20-µm. After the 24 hour mark of refining the cacao, we slowly add the sugar. The chocolate will refine for another 48 hours with the sugar. Once the optimal particle size has been reached, the resulting warm liquid mass will be poured into trays to form large blocks.
STEP 6: RESTING
Now that the chocolate is in blocks, they are wrapped and left to rest for 30 days! This resting period helps the chocolate settle and release any residual volatile flavours to ensure the best possible chocolate.
STEP 7: TEMPERING & MOLDING
The chocolate is now ready to cast into bars. The chocolate goes through the tempering process (heating and cooling to achieve the proper crystallization for optimal flavour release, snap and shine) then it is molded in our custom made polycarbonate molds.
STEP 8: PACKAGING
The bars are then flow-wrapped in a specialized film to ensure that the chocolate is fully sealed from oxygen & light to preserve its mouthwatering qualities while it waits patiently to be enjoyed by our customers.