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The journey of chocolate from cacao pod to bar requires several steps, each of which require careful treatment to get the best from the finished product.
STEP 1 : HARVESTING
The process begins with harvesting. The pods are cut open with machetes and the white pulp containing the cocoa beans is scooped out. Not all cocoa harvests are same. Everything from geography, to soil type to the climatic conditions of the harvest have a huge impact on the beans and the chocolate’s flavour profile.
STEP 2: FERMENTING
Cocoa beans are fermented so as to destroy the seed coat, kill the germ and give the cocoa a good taste. The pods and pulp are placed into large wooden containers, where the pulp is allowed to ferment for seven days. During the process, the beans are turned twice help them ferment more evenly. The beans are purple at the beginning, and turn reddish when they are fermented. 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.
STEP 3 : DRYING
Drying the beans is usually done by spreading them out into a single layer in the sun on bamboo top table for aeration. Dried beans are transferred into sacks and transported. it’s important that they’re completely dry to prevent mould. Drying cocoa beans takes five to ten days.
STEP 4 : TRANSPORTATION
The Beans are transported to Bulgaria in sacks. The sacks are kept open for seven days to air it out. The next steps of chocolate formation happens in the studio based out of Casa Kakau’s warehouse.
STEP 5 : SORTING
To good quality production, cocoa beans are properly sorted by removing foreign particles , flat beans, moulded beans, dust, partially germinated beans , and broken beans. Only fully formed, completely fermented and dried cacao beans are used at Casa Kakau.
STEP 6 : GRINDING
The cocoa nibs are ground with stone rollers until they become a paste known as cocoa mass or cocoa liquor. This pure, unrefined form of chocolate contains both cocoa solids (the chocolatey part!) and cocoa butter (the natural fat present in the bean). This part of the process has a very big impact on the flavour notes in the finished chocolate.
STEP 7 : MOULDING
The final step in making a finished chocolate bar is pouring it into a mould. The tempered chocolate is poured by hand into polycarbonate bar-shaped moulds and agitated to remove any air bubbles.
STEP 8 : WRAPPING
Once tempered chocolate is cooled at 14 degree centigrade . The chocolate is wrapped in foil and packed in boxes to keep it resealable . Up ready to be sent out. Every single bars is packed completely by hand with maximum care and precision.