Picture Of Cocoa Beans
Sally's Chocolatier
Cocoa Site

History of Chocolate

Where It First Showed Up

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Sculpture of Olmec Head
Image of Olmecs in Southern Mexico
Image of Olmecs in Southern Mexico

Production of Chocolate

How It's Produced

    Picture of Cocoa Beans Drying in Sun
  1. Cacao seeds are harvested by hand because machines could injure the trees. Workers remove the pods, which are orange when they are ripe, and open them with a machete.
  2. The seeds are placed in large fermentation trays that are stacked and covered in banana leaves, where they are left for two to seven days. Fermentation produces the chocolate flavor and aroma.
  3. Workers turn them several times a day for three to five days to complete drying. The beans can dry faster in rotary driers but sun-dried beans taste the best.(See Image Right)
  4. Next, the beans are taken to the chocolate factory, where they are cleaned and debris is removed.
  5. The beans are roasted in large, rotating ovens.
  6. The remaining part of the bean is called the nib. Nibs become chocolate. The nibs are ground down under a series of rollers. This process results in a thick paste called chocolate liquor.
  7. It is the main source of unsweetened baking chocolate, according to Pam Williams, co-founder and past president of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) and founder and lead instructor of Ecole Cocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts.
  8. At this stage, the type of chocolate being produced is determined. According to the FCIA, ingredients separate fine chocolate from that of average quality.

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