Chocolate making comprise several steps from the bean to the bar. They are not complicated procedures but getting a great chocolate requires to find the precise point on each of them.
When the beans arrive at the workshop they are in jute bags. Not all the beans are in good condition or meet the quality standards to make chocolate. We sort the beans by hand looking for twin beans, flat beans, broken beans, moulded beans, ... Even a piece of rope from the bag or a little stone can be found among the beans.
The roasting profile has a huge impact on the final chocolate. Not all the beans need the same temperature and time to reach the optimal point. By roasting the beans the different flavors of each bean are highlighted and we can notice tasting notes that the raw beans don't show. Roasting also drive-off acetic acid, a byproduct of the fermentation process (after harvesting the cocoa pods they are cut open to get the cocoa beans, which are fermented and dried).
At Pangea Chocolate we do many roast test to figure out which is the best roasting profile for each bean.
cracking & winnowing
Once the beans are roasted they can't be used directly. Only the inner part is used to make chocolate. In order to get that part, we crack the beans. Once the beans are cracked the nibs and the husks are mixed up. As the husks are lighter than the nibs we winnow the husks from the nibs by blowing them out with our homemade winnower.
grinding & refining
The nibs are then stone grinded. We use a wet grinder to crush the nibs. As they are crushed, the cocoa nibs turn into a paste known as cocoa liquor. We add the the sugar and the wet grinder continues crushing until the particle size of the nibs and the sugar is not noticeable in the mouth.
The grinder also accomplish another function. It aerates the chocolate. This helps to get rid of some undesired flavors that might be in the cocoa beans. The time that the chocolate remains in the grinder is also very important. Not enough time in the grinder and the chocolate might retain not desired flavors. Too much time in it and the good flavors of the chocolate might have disappeared.
tempering & molding
The last step is tempering the chocolate. In a similar way as the steel, the chocolate has to be tempered. Tempering the chocolate give to it a good snap and a nice shinning. It also prevents the chocolate from melting too easily on the hands. Cocoa butter can form 6 different types of crystals but only type 5 accomplishes what we look for. We have to heat the chocolate until all types of crystals are melted, then the chocolate has to be cooled down to a specific temperature and heated again to the point that it is in temper.
Now we can pour it into the moulds and let it cool down until solidifies. The bars are ready to be wrapped.
cracking & winnowing