Cocoa beans are the foundation of the chocolate industry, and the production process of turning these beans into chocolate bars is a complex and intricate process. One of the rarest and most unique types of cocoa beans is the Criolla cocoa bean. In this article, we will explore how Criolla cocoa is farmed and the production process of turning the beans into chocolate bars.
Farming Criolla Cocoa Beans
Criolla cocoa beans are grown in specific regions of the world, such as Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. These beans are grown in small quantities and are susceptible to disease and pests, making them more expensive than other cocoa beans.
The farming process of Criolla cocoa beans starts with selecting the right land for planting. The land should be fertile and well-drained, and the climate should be warm and humid. The cocoa trees are then planted, and it takes about three to four years for the trees to start producing cocoa pods.
Cocoa pods are harvested twice a year, and the process is done by hand. The pods are cut from the tree using a machete, and the beans are removed from the pod by hand. The beans are then left to ferment for several days to develop their flavor.
After fermentation, the beans are dried in the sun or in a drying machine. The drying process can take up to two weeks, and the beans need to be constantly turned to ensure even drying. Once the beans are dry, they are sorted and packed for shipment.
Turning Criolla Cocoa Beans into Chocolate Bars
The process of turning Criolla cocoa beans into chocolate bars is a complex and intricate process that involves several steps.
The first step in the production process is roasting the cocoa beans. The beans are roasted at a specific temperature and for a specific amount of time to develop their flavor. Roasting also removes the shell from the bean, leaving only the cocoa nib.
After roasting, the cocoa nibs are ground into a paste called cocoa liquor. The grinding process can take several hours, and the cocoa liquor is continually refined to achieve the desired texture and consistency.
The next step in the production process is pressing the cocoa liquor. The liquor is placed in a hydraulic press, and pressure is applied to remove the cocoa butter. The remaining solid material is called cocoa cake.
After pressing, the cocoa cake is ground into a fine powder called cocoa powder. The cocoa powder is then added to the cocoa butter and sugar to create chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is then conched, which is a process of heating and stirring the chocolate liquor to refine its texture and flavor.
The final step in the production process is tempering the chocolate. The chocolate is heated and cooled to a specific temperature to ensure that it has a smooth and glossy finish. Once the chocolate is tempered, it is poured into molds and allowed to cool and harden into chocolate bars.
Criolla cocoa beans are a rare and unique type of cocoa bean that is known for its distinctive flavor profile and health benefits. The process of farming and turning Criolla cocoa beans into chocolate bars is a complex and intricate process that requires skill and expertise. From selecting the right land for planting to tempering the chocolate, every step of the production process plays a crucial role in creating the perfect chocolate bar. If you are looking to experience the unique flavor and health benefits of Criolla cocoa, consider trying chocolate bars made from these beans, such as those from Ki'Xocolatl. With their commitment to quality and artisan craftsmanship, you can be sure that you are getting the best quality chocolate made from some of the rarest and most unique cocoa beans in the world.