Process 5: Drying Cacao Beans is an important process for the taste.
Hello my fellow chocolate lovers,
I am Takanori Chiwata the chocolate engineer of COCONAMA CHOCOLATE.
Today, I would like to continue from where I left off last time “how does cacao become chocolate?”
On our last blog, I talked fermentation in detail.
On this post, I will be sharing about “what comes after fermentation?
After the fermentation, cacao bean still has its melted soggy pulp attached to it.
All these process are done in subtropical region, and the beans could easily rot in their high temperature.
So, the cacao beans are left to dry after the fermentation.
The drying process is done shown as below.
The cacao beans are sun-dried like this.
They will not be dried with the use of machines like hot air dryer.
This is partly because of the expensive price of machine, making the farmers difficult to purchase, but there is also another reason behind it.
As I said last time, acetic acid and lactic acids are produced during the fermentation process.
These acids are overwhelming and taste quite unpleasant.
There is a higher chance of leaving acetic acids and lactic acids on the cacao beans when dried rapidly using machines.
The advantage of sun-drying method is that it gradually raises the temperature of the cacao beans, so the acetic acid and the lactic acids are easier to evaporate along with the water content.
The standard amount of water content that should be left in the cacao beans are about 7%. Some farm may use a small machine to measure this water content.
If the cacao beans are too high with water content, they could grow mold on them during the shipping and be ruined.
You may think “then why not just dry them out completely?”
Now what happens once the beans are over dried? This is a tough question…
You will need to think flexibly to get the correct answer.
To tell you the truth, the profit of the farmers will decrease.
If the original amount of cacao is 500kg with water content of 10%, the completely dried cacao beans would weigh 450kg.
If 7% water content is left, they can ship 483.87kg worth of cacao beans.
If the water content it left 8%, they can ship 489.13kg, but the cacao beans may grow mold on them.
Finally, if they decrease the water content down to 6%, they can only ship out 478.72kg.
So, determining the maximum amount of water content,but not enough for it grow mold on the beans is truly important to the farmers.
The drying process is not simply just about getting rid of the water content, but it is an important process to create a better quality cacao beans.
Just look how beautiful they are!
Let’s call it a day now that I shared how important the drying process is for the cacao beans.
Next time, I would like to post something along the lines of “what do we do with these dried beans?” Don’t miss it!
With hopes that you will be able to encounter the perfect chocolate just for you,