Theobroma Cacao- scientific name of cocoa. It grows in warm and humid temperature places such as tropical regions of Venezuela, Honduras and Mexico. It is believe that it was originally grew in Amazon rainforest in Brazil.
Scientific studies showed that Honduras was the real source of cocoa. And now it is cultivated globally around belt of equator such as Africa, Asia and South America.
The largest producing countries now are Ivory Coast Ghana Africa and Indonesia. Almost 75% world source of cocoa comes from Africa.
It takes 5 to 6 years for this to bear fruits, and with 25 years of life span and is replace with a new one.
There are three kinds of cacao;
- Criolo-prince among cocoa trees, produces pods with a very thin peel. It has a very pale color and unique refined aroma. It produces small harvest and fragile.
- Forastero- a stronger type of tree and is easier to cultivate and produces large yields. Its pods are thicker, coarser, stronger aroma, giving chocolate a typical recognizable basic aroma. Most widely used in chocolate making.
- Trinitario- a cross breed of both trees and obtain both of its features and have just refined aroma, easy too to cultivate.
Cocoa trees bears flowers two times for 6 months cycles, and takes another 6 months to harvest the fruits
This tree bears fruit even on trunks.
After harvesting, seeds are fermented covered with banana leaves for 5 to 7 days. Then spread it and sun dried the beans. They graded and place on sacks, weighed into 50 to 60 kilo each. Then they are distributed to different parts of the world maker of chocolate.
How Is Chocolate Made For Us To Be Edible?
Cacao beans are first sifted for foreign objects, sorted by type to know exactly what type is suited for chocolate. Twelve types of these variety are combined for their recipes, carefully measured for flavor consistent.
It is roasted in large rotating ovens at 210-290F which lasted up to 2 hours. Cracked beans are winnowed, cracking outer shell separating the beans by blowing. They called the very beans “nibs”, But really bitter in taste, but good for salads since it is edible too to eat.
Cacao nibs are crushed and grounded finely into thick paste called chocolate liquor. Don’t worry, it contains no alcohol.
This divided into 2 parts. One part is for cocoa while the other half is for chocolate bars.
How Is Cocoa powder made?
The cocoa liquor is slammed by giant hydraulic press, it removes the much fat or the cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is used in making chocolate, cosmetics and medicines as well.
What’s left now on slammed chocolate liquor is very dry and can be ground into cocoa.
Half of the chocolate liquor, which is bitter and not smooth texture nor creamy. They add sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla and milk to sweeten it up and obtain a very fine texture.
The mixture should undergone through a series of steel rollers to refine it thoroughly.
To obtain the refined texture and bring the flavor, mixture is then “conched.” A chocolate making machine which mixes and mashes and swirls and aerates the chocolate. Adding some more butter or some so lecithin- giving the chocolate silky and smooth texture. Expensive ones last for 6 days and a few hours for cheaper one.
It is then tempered by stirring, letting it cool, heating it back slowly repeating the process for many times. A more glossy look and will melt properly.
Now, it’s up to you to choose, a chocolate shake perhaps, or on cakes, ice creams or just take a bite slowly for that sweet bars of chocolates.
So there you are my friends, chocolate on our home undergone a series of process to satisfy our taste.
Thanks for the farmers who did planted it, cultivated it to supply us endless of chocolates.
I was amused upon seeing the videos of African farmers of cacao. For the past whole years of their hard labor in taking care of cacao plantations, yet they had never tasted it.
See you then for another adventure in learning of what we eat, how did it come to our table and many more.