From Bean to Bar: The 12 Steps of Chocolate Making
1. Harvest the beans. All fruits are hand picked because the cacao grows in a forest where mechanical harvesting is not possible.
2. Ferment the beans. Open the pods, remove the beans and mucilaginous fruit. This is fermented in boxes, which takes a few days. The fruit becomes liquid. This is called "sweating" the beans.
3. Dry the beans. The beans are raked onto terraces in the sun, where they dry for 22-28 days.
4. Hand sort the beans to remove defective beans, twigs, leaves and other foreign material.
5. Slow roast the beans. Low temperatures enhance flavors.
6. Crack the beans, then winnow them to remove husks.
7. Grind the resulting nibs and heat to a melted texture.
8. Add sugar, extra cocoa butter, flavorings.
9. Conch (churn) the chocolate to reduce acidity, incorporate sugar and cocoa butter for smooth consistency. This can take days.
10. Temper the chocolate to align sugar crystals (heterozygous crystallization), ensuring great texture, shine and snap.
11. Chocolate may be aged after this for better flavor.
12. Pour into molds to create bars and other confections.