Creating Artisanal Chocolate
Only The Best Beans
Every cacao bean is different. When we receive a bag of beans from a new farm we start by roasting small test batches. This is done to determine how long and at what temperature provides the best roast profile for that particular bean. There are many reasons for roasting. One of the reasons is to develop flavor. Another reason is to sanitize the bean.
Crack and Winnow
The liquor is soft and reduces the workload of our FBM Rumbo that handles the refining and conching, the next step of the chocolate making process.
The chocolate liquor, formerly cocoa nibs, consists of two ingredients naturally. It contains cocoa butter and cocoa solids that are also known as cocoa powder. The cocoa butter press is a 25-ton press that cocoa liquor is poured into. When the force from the press is applied to the liquor the fat known as cocoa butter is pressed out. What remains at the end of cycle is a bucket or two of cocoa butter and a hard, brown, large hockey puck looking product known as the “cake”. This cake can then be run through the Pre-Grinder to break it up and turn it back into cocoa powder.
Refining & Conch
In the Melnger the liquor will turn into fine paste within 24 hours. If it remains in the Melanger after this stage the chocolate then enters the conching process. At our factory we use an FBM Rumbo for large batch and small premier grinders to do smaller or test batches.
To continue the conching process we use our Kleego (conch). The objective of the conching is to remove any volatile aromatics. Through heating and stirring, the chocolate maker can remove or leave flavors in the chocolate. In this stage we also want to ensure that every molecule is covered in fat and the stirring arms that rotate in opposing directions assure that this is achieved. Once the desired flavor and consistency is achieved this stage is completed. This can take hours or a few short minutes depending on the desired flavor profile.
Moulding and Packaging
If we are making bonbons we put chocolate into the mold then place the mold on the vibrating table to remove the air bubbles. Next we pour the chocolate out of the moulds leaving a thin layer of chocolate in the mold cavities. Once the chocolate is set in the mold cavities we pipe in chocolate ganache or the desired fillings then close the mold with more chocolate before placing it back in the cooler. When the chocolate is fully set we pop the bonbons out of their moulds and then move on to packaging.