The Bean to Bar Process of Making Craft Chocolate

The bean-to-bar process of making craft chocolate is fascinating!  Below is a lightning fast look at the process we use here at Maribea craft chocolate.  After reading about the process we use to product our high quality luxury chocolates, why not stop by our online store?

Cacao Beans

Cacao beans are harvested from trees that thrive in countries 22 degrees north and south of the equator. Growing conditions and fermentation methods shape the unique flavor characteristic of each crop of cacao beans.  Looking at the cacao beans, you might have hard time picturing how they can result in something like a beautiful Colombia Tumaco dark chocolate bar or some delicious chocolate dipped pretzels!  Once the harvested beans have received, they are sorted to discard debris and prepared for roasting.

Roasting the Cacao Beans

Roasting is a critical process where time,  temperature and agitation work together to bring out the inherent flavor profile of the cacao beans. It is also during the roasting process that any unwanted pathogens are destroyed. 

Cracking and Winnowing the Cacao Beans

Once roasting is complete, the cacao beans are cracked and winnowed to separate the exterior shell of the bean from the nib. The nibs  of cacao beans can be ground into cacao liquor or pressed to make cacao butter and cacao powder.

Melanging and Conching the Cacao Nibs

Melanging is the process whereby stone wheels are used to grind the cacao nibs to form a paste. Next, cacao butter and sugar are added to the paste and the grinding continues until the mixture is silky smooth. During conching, the pressure on the stone wheels is lessened to stir and aerate the chocolate for the next 48 to 96 hours. sometimes the cacao nibs don’t make it all the way to a chocolate bar but end up making something like brownies or cacao nib cookies instead!

Tempering the Chocolate

After conching to the desired consistency, the chocolate is then ready for tempering. Tempering is involves the heating and cooling of chocolate to stabilize the crystals. The tempering process insures a beautifully smooth and shiny bar — like a Guatemala Cahabon 72% dark chocolate bar — that looks as good as it tastes.

maribea-craft-chocolate-cacao-bean-bar

Molding the Finished Chocolate

Once the chocolate has been tempered, it is then molded, cooled, wrapped by hand, and labeled with the country of origin.