The Bean To Bar Process
SORTING THE CACAO BEANS
Prior to delving into the intricate realm of flavor refinement through the roasting process, we embark on an initial sorting procedure meticulously executed by hand. Every cacao bean undergoes scrutiny under the discerning gaze of a diligent employee, ensuring the exclusion of any undesirable debris and subpar-quality beans. Only those of the utmost quality persist, earning their place in the ultimate culmination of our final product.
Embarking on the journey of flavor inception, our initial encounter with the cacao beans transpires through the intricate process of roasting. Within the confines of our meticulously restored and modified Cacao bean roaster, each bean undergoes a nuanced transformation. Through a complex interplay of chemical reactions, not only does the chocolate flavor flourish, but the inherent bitterness in the cacao is artfully expelled or tempered.
In this delicate dance of flavor alchemy, we devote time to crafting distinct roast profiles for each individual bean, often blending these profiles within a single batch. This meticulous approach serves to sculpt the chocolate’s distinctive taste. Beyond flavor refinement, roasting plays a multifaceted role—it diminishes the moisture content within the beans and facilitates the separation of the husk from the nib, contributing to the overall quality of the final product.
CRACKING & WINNOWING
In the subsequent stage of cocoa processing, known as cracking and winnowing, the objective is to separate the husk from the previously roasted and cooled cocoa beans.
This separation is initiated by breaking the beans into smaller fragments. Subsequently, utilizing vacuum pressure, the lighter husk is effectively extracted from the heavier or denser nib. The meticulous removal of all husk particles is crucial, as any remnants could impart undesirable flavors to the chocolate. Once the husk elimination process is complete, the refined nib remains, poised for the subsequent chocolate-making steps, while the extracted husk finds a purpose as garden mulch.
This method ensures the purity and quality of the cocoa nibs for the chocolate production process.
In the refinement phase, the cocoa nibs and undefined cane sugar embark on their journey to metamorphose into chocolate. Commencing this process, the nibs undergo grinding within a melanger. This initial grinding serves a dual purpose—it not only initiates the reduction of nib particle size but also triggers the release of cocoa butter. The outcome of this grinding stage is the creation of ground nibs, commonly referred to as chocolate liquor. At this juncture, the sugar joins the chocolate liquor, initiating a meticulous blending and grinding process. This amalgamation undergoes further grinding until reaching the desired consistency, paving the way for the subsequent stages in the chocolate-making process.
After undergoing various stages, the chocolate now undergoes a period of rest lasting two to four weeks, allowing its flavor to subtly mature. This aging process results in nuanced changes, distinguishing it from the earlier, more pronounced transformations. Following this resting period, the chocolate is melted and prepared for tempering, a meticulous procedure extensively detailed in dedicated chapters of textbooks.
In essence, tempering involves navigating the polymorphic nature of cocoa butter, wherein distinct crystalline structures form at different temperatures. The goal is to isolate a specific crystal structure that imparts the chocolate with its desirable sheen, snap, and melt properties. Utilizing a sophisticated machine, precision is employed to achieve this temper. Once successful, the tempered chocolate is poured into bar molds and subjected to vibrations to eliminate as many bubbles as possible.
THE CHOCOLATE BAR
In the culmination of this chocolate-making process, the meticulously crafted bars undergo the final stages of being delicately wrapped and thoughtfully packaged. Significantly, we place great importance on ensuring that the packaging mirrors the artisanal craftsmanship invested in creating each individual chocolate bar. This dedication to detail extends beyond the delectable contents to encompass the entire aesthetic experience, emphasizing the commitment to excellence that defines our approach to chocolate production.