The production process
From cocoa beans to semi finished products
From bean to mass
The processing of raw cocoa beans into cocoa mass contains a number of stages. Before arrival at the factory the raw cocoabeans have been fermented and dried, while during transhipment the first quality control has taken place in port. On arrival at the processing factory the beans are subjected to an other thorough inspection, thereafter to be cleaned, mixed into the desired blend, fragmented and stripped of their husks. What remains the inner part of the kernel, called "nib". The nibs are heat treated to eliminate possible bacteria and subsequently roasted and ground into a liquid cocoa mass. The nibs are alkalised before, during or after the roasting process. This determines the colour and taste of the cocoa mass, which, as an immediate or semi finished product, is supplied to the chocolate industry and is also basis for the production of cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
From mass to butter
Fat is pressed out of the cocoa mass under high pressure (up to 550 kg/sq.cm). The butter is subsequently filtered, to remove the last remnants of solid cocoa butter in liquid form in tankers, or in solidified form in cardboard boxes. This product is an important ingredient of chocolate. If the client so wishes, cocoa butter can be made odourless by means of steam and vacuum extraction. The chocolate industry's demand is usually for cocoa butter with a neutral taste. Cocoa butter is also used in the production of cosmetics and toiletries.
From mass to powder
What remains after the removal of the cocoa butter through pressing are cocoa cakes, disks with a thickness of approximately five centimetres. These cakes are broken up and ground into a fine cocoa powder. Each manufacturer supplies his own type of powder, with his own distinctive colour, aroma, pH-value (degree of acidity) and fat content. The powder is the substance, which contains the aroma, taste and colour of cocoa. That is why it is the ingredient, which is added to numerous of food products for flavour and colour: biscuits, puddings, deserts, creams, filled chocolates, ice cream etc. Mixed with sugar and diluted with milk it turns into a mild chocolate drink. It also provides the finishing touch for confectionery, truffles and cappuccino coffee, while new applications are being made all the time.