Process 9: Winnowing

Hello my fellow chocolate lovers,


I am Takanori Chiwata, the chocolate engineer of COCONAMA CHOCOLATE.


Today, we will be winnowing the roasted cacao beans.


You are probably questioning “what is winnowing?” right now.


Winnowing means to winnow object using wind. Well, what does this “winnow object using wind”exactly mean?


“Winnow object using wind” means to separate one thing from another by vacuuming away the unwanted items. You can also blow away the unwanted items by using fan installed machines.

But what do we separate from one another?


The beans inside cacao are coated with its outer shell, just like shown below.

Once you crush cacao, you can see its outer shells and cacao nibs (crushed cacao about 3-5 mm in size) mixed with each other.

These outer shells are unfavourable for chocolates, so we would want to get rid of the shell and extract the contents.


Yes, we will be separating the outer shells and the contents of cacao.


This separation process will be something important when it comes to making chocolates.


As you can see, the outer shells are light and fluffy.

Once you apply a wind to a mixture of outer shells and cacao nibs, the light outer shells will be blown away leaving the heavier cacao nibs.


We will need to repeat this process 5-6 times as we cannot get rid of all the outer shells on the first try.


Yet, some outer shells will still be stuck to the cacao nibs. In order to remove these persistent outer shells, we will need to look for the remaining outer shells with our own eyes and remove them by hand.

If any outer shells are to be remained,the chocolate will end up having a dull flavour,ruining the experience of a fine quality cacao beans.


Back in the days without machines for winnowing, the outer shells and cacao beans were separated like the image shown below.

Let’s call it a day now. I am glad that I had the chance to share about cacao beans, its outer shells, and how to remove these shells.


Next time, I would like to share  “the secret behind the smoothness of a chocolate”. Don’t miss it!


With hopes that you will be able to encounter the perfect chocolate just for you,


Takanori Chiwata


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