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sample of that cocoa, and the maximum acceptable levels of defects would be specified in every sales contract. These various standards differ in the level of defective beans which are permitted in their various quality grades in the cut test. The arrangements for taking the contract samples, their labelling, storage, the grades and any subsequent arbitration actions are clearly stated in the rules of the relevant contracts the Cocoa Association of London (CAL), the Association Fran├žaise Cafet Cacao (for the Paris contract) and the Cocoa Merchants Association of America (for the New York contract)2.

Fundamentally, all the operations of the international cocoa trade, regardless of whether it is a trade using the contracts of London, Paris or New York, are based on mutual trust between buyer and seller and both parties will follow the specific rules of the body under whose aegis that particular contract has been written. Part of this trust is the expectation that the delivered cocoa will be of the quality specified in the contract, at the agreed price, in the contracted quantity and shipped/delivered in the specified shipment/delivery period.

There are no standard clauses in contracts of the three markets which cover fat yield, physical characteristics of that fat or flavour quality; however, such standards can be added by specific agreement between buyer and seller. Crespo (8) reports the results of defects as follows.

  • A large percentage of unfermented beans produces an unflavoured, somewhat astringent flavour, lacking good chocolate characteristics.
  • Mouldy beans bring an undesirable taste which cannot be masked out.
  • Insect infested beans produce a lower fat yield and most likely a product with high count of insect fragments.
  • Flat beans also have a low fat yield.

The theoretical fat yield of cocoa beans is the maximum quantity of usable fat which can theoretically be extracted from them, expressed as a percentage of the whole bean. It is calculated by measurement of percentage shell, percentage germ, percentage nib moisture and the percentage fat in dry nib using the following equation:

% Theoretical fat yield = (100 % shell % germ) 100 x (100 % nib H2O) 100 x % dry nib fat

2 For example, in CAL contracts, good fermented beans have a defect level below 5% mouldy and 5% other defects and fair fermented beans below 10% of each. In summary, the International Cocoa Standards identify defects as follows: a broken bean is one in which a fragment is missing, though the missing part is less than half the bean; a flat bean is one which is too thin to cut; a germinated bean is one where the shell has been pierced, slit or broken by the germ; an insect damaged bean or a mouldy bean respectively show damage from, or presence of, insects or moulds visible to the naked eye; a slaty bean shows a slaty colour over half or more of the cut bean surface and thus demonstrates inadequate fermentation.

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