By team G -Atulya (Food technology)
Chocolate is one of the most popular foods in the world. It is enjoyed by people of all ages and is also used as a flavoring ingredient in other foods (i.e. chocolate cakes, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate brownies, etc.).
The word chocolate is derived from a Spanish word which is in turn derived from Nahuatl (the language of Aztecs) from the word “xocolatl” where “xococ” means sour or bitter and “atl” means water or drinks.
Chocolate manufacturing process:
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans grown in the pods of the cacao tree.
Harvesting of cacao pods is done by hand to identify the mature pods. These pods are broken open to release the cocoa beans.
The cocoa beans have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavor. The workers cover the pulp-coated beans with banana leaves and spread them in a covered wooden box to begin the fermentation process. During fermentation, the sugars in the pulp are broken down into acidic compounds such as vinegar by yeast present in the air. Fermentation is a key step as it triggers chemical changes that help the beans to develop their chocolate flavor. This process can take up to eight days.
After fermentation, the cocoa beans are dried out in the sun on trays or mats. Drying reduces the moisture in the beans which decreases the risk of mold growth. After drying, the cocoa beans are sorted and bagged to chocolate manufacturing industries.
TESTING, CLEANING, ROASTING:
In the chocolate manufacturing plant, the cocoa beans undergo sampling and testing procedures where they are tested for size and defects, such as insects or mold.
After testing, the cocoa beans are thoroughly cleaned to remove any foreign matter.
The beans are then roasted in a large rotary cylinder at 250⁰ F and higher which lasts from 30 minutes to 2 hours. During this process, the beans are turned over and over and their moisture content drops. Due to roasting, the color of the cocoa beans changes to rich brown.
CRANKING (SHELL REMOVAL) AND WINNOWING:
After roasting, the cocoa beans are cooled and their outer shells which have become brittle due to roasting are cracked and removed by passing the beans through serrated cones of a giant winnowing machine. These cracked beans are called “cocoa nibs”. As the shells are dry and lightweight, they can be winnowed from the cocoa nibs. Winnowing is done by exposure to a current of air so that the shells are blown free of the heavier nibs. The cocoa nibs contain about 53% of cocoa butter.
Cocoa nibs are then ground into “cocoa mass” which is also known as unsweetened chocolate or bitter chocolate. The cocoa mass is melted to become “cocoa liquor”.
SEPARATION OF COCOA BUTTER FROM COCOA LIQUOR:
Cocoa liquor can make cocoa powder (cocoa solids) and cocoa butter. To make cocoa powder, cocoa liquor is pumped into hydraulic presses. So when a pressure of about 25 tons is applied to the liquor, 80% of cocoa butter is removed. The “c