KOMPAS.com – The one chocolate bar that you usually enjoy at home has been a very long journey. How was the travel process?
This process was explained in the virtual launch session of Mondelez International’s Pasuruan Cocoa Technical Center (PCTC), Wednesday (7/10/2020).
1. Cocoa tree
About 90 percent of the world‘s cocoa beans are harvested through small, privately managed farms with less than two hectares of land. The average yield is only 600-800 kilograms per year.
Cocoa beans actually come from the Amazon forest area. However, about 70 percent of the world‘s cocoa production is produced in West Africa.
2. Growing cacao trees
The cocoa tree then takes about four years from the beginning to grow until it can produce fruit.
However, if cared for properly, the tree can continue to produce fruit regularly for the next 30 years.
Cocoa pods can be ripe and ready to harvest within 175 days from flowering.
In the process of growing, farmers try to protect the trees from the wind and sun.
They should also maintain soil fertility and also watch for signs of disease.
Usually cacao pods contain 30-40 beans. It takes about 400 dried beans to produce about 450 grams of cocoa.
3. Harvest process
After the fruit is ripe, the farmers then carry out the harvest process. Usually many countries have two harvests, including Indonesia.
The two harvests consist of one main crop and one side harvest with smaller yields.
Cocoa farmers use long levers to reach and pick fruit. This tool is useful for keeping the soft bark from being damaged.
4. Fermentation and drying
The post-harvest processing has the greatest impact on the quality as well as the taste of the cocoa. The process involves the farmer separating the cocoa beans from the pods first.
They then pack them in boxes or collect them in piles. After that, cover it with a cloth or banana leaves for three to seven days.
In the process, layers pulp the sweet coating that coats the seeds ferments and warms the seeds.
This will have an impact on the strengthening of the taste of cocoa. The seeds are then dried in the sun for several days.
There are many natural variations of cocoa. However, the three main variants are Criollo, Forestero, and Trinitario which are the most commonly used.
5. Cocoa sales
After drying, the ready beans are packed in sacks. Farmers will sell their products to buyers.
The buyer will then store the cocoa in sack packages for further quality inspection.
They packed it inside burlap, sisal, or plastic to be transported to the warehouse. The cocoa beans are then stored until they are sent to the producers.
6. Processing of cocoa beans
Once purchased by the buyer and passed on to the producer, the cocoa beans will then be cleaned. After that the seeds are roasted and the skin is peeled.
This separation of the seed coat from the seed pulp is called a process winnowing.
The meat of the cocoa beans is then processed into cocoa paste (cocoa mass) through the process grinding or milling.
Cocoa butter (cocoa butter) can be obtained by squeezing cocoa paste or whole beans. Apart from pure cocoa butter, this process can also produce cocoa powder.
Cocoa paste is commonly used by the chocolate industry. Used for productioni bakery and biscuits.
Meanwhile, cocoa powder is commonly used in beverages, bakeries, biscuits, ice cream and the dairy industry.
Cocoa butter is also commonly used in the production of chocolate and cosmetics. Cocoa paste, cocoa powder, and cocoa butter are the three products of cocoa selling value.
7. Chocolate recipes
After being processed into either paste, powder, and fat, the next step is to process the cocoa into chocolate products according to the recipe.
Chocolate is a product that is produced through a recipe, derived from tradition, and has a taste that has developed in various countries.
As with coffee, the place of origin of the cocoa beans will produce a different flavor profile.
Dark chocolate (dark chocolate) has a solid chocolate level (cocoa solids) the highest.
This results in a much stronger chocolate taste. While the milk chocolate (milk chocolate) consists of the main ingredients of fresh milk or powdered milk.
Cocoa This solid gives a taste that is arguably quite “rich”.
The amount of solid cocoa that is included in a recipe varies between producers and brand. It gives the product an inherent flavor character.
8. Chocolate creations
Each manufacturer will use their own recipe to produce their signature chocolate product.
Usually the process of making this chocolate includes a process mixing, pasting, refining, and conching.
After that the process is applied tempering through three stages, namely heating, cooling, and reheating.
This process is essential for a stable, light glossy chocolate.
If not through the process tempering, then the chocolate will have a rough texture. One reason is because chocolate is made up of fat and sugar.
After the process temperingThen the chocolate is formed into chocolate bars, small pieces of chocolate, or various other shapes according to the product you want to market.
Some countries have specific regulations regarding what ingredients can or cannot be called chocolate.
It refers to the percentage of dry solid cocoa content (dry cocoa solids). However, it does not include the cocoa butter content (cocoa butter).
9. Chocolate trends
After becoming a product, the various types of chocolate are marketed. Every region’s chocolate trends and preferences are different.
Consumers in Europe, for example, prefer dark chocolate. Meanwhile, milk chocolate is preferred in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.