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Chapter 3

Cacao Bean and Chocolate Processing Ronald G. Bixler and Jeffrey N. Morgan

This chapter discusses the basic processes involved in converting cocoa beans into chocolate, and the major steps involved in the manufacturing of chocolate. It is not within the scope of this chapter to provide extensive detail on cocoa bean and chocolate processing. Rather, the intent of this chapter is to provide an overview of basic processes so that the reader gains an appreciation of how chocolate is manufactured and the types of chocolate produced. Fig. 3.1 shows the process diagrammatically.

Cocoa Bean Processing

The unit operations utilized in converting cocoa beans to chocolate liquor, cocoa powder and cocoa butter have changed little since the beginning of the 20th century. The changes have occurred in increased equipment efficiencies, controls have become very sophisticated and the raw material sources have changed significantly. For example, the table of contents in a book (1) published shortly after World War I lists topics very similar to those found in recent publications:

Chapter X Cleaning, Sorting and Grading Cacao Prior to Roasting

Chapter XI Roasting of Cacao

Chapter XII Nibbing, Husking and Winnowing the Roasted Cacao

Chapter XIII MillingPreparation of Cocoa PowderExpression of Cacao Butter.

Each of the operations will be described in the following discussion. Cleaning

After inspecting and conducting the necessary tests to insure compliance with internal standards and regulatory requirements, cocoa beans move to the next

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Grading Method Beans

Flowchart of chocolate manufacture.

Flowchart of chocolate manufacture.

part of the operation. Although it is mentioned above, grading of the beans at a processing facility into two or three grades is not as common as it was in the early part of the 20th century.

Cleaning is typically the next step and is shown in Fig. 3.2. Foreign material ranging from machete blades to shotgun shells can be found in shipments and this material must be removed both to minimize damage to downstream equipment and to maintain product integrity. The inside of an undamaged cocoa bean is clean in all respects and will remain so as long as it is stored properly and is not mixed with contaminated materials not completely removed during cleaning or subsequent steps downstream.

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