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History of cocoaHealth benefits
Research
Growing cocoa
Processing cocoa
Making chocolate

Following the post-harvest processing steps on the previous page, the beans are converted into chocolate where the key process in producing a consistent and balanced flavour is called conching or refining.

By refining the chocolate so the particle size is around 20 microns, the eventual mouth-feel and flavour delivery are greatly enhanced.

By varying the recipe mixture of cocoa liquor with sugar, different intensity chocolate flavours are produced. Dark chocolates sometimes have additional cocoa butter added to improve flow properties.

Milk Chocolates are a mixture of cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, milk powder and sugar.

 

Conching / Refining

Roasted nibs are liquefied by mechanical energy by a range of milling and refining equipment. The resulting product is called cocoa liquor which can be kept molten by storing at around 45-50°C. This liquor sets into a solid block when cooled and this allows various cocoa liquors to be transported easily and sold worldwide.

A conch is a piece of equipment where all of the final ingredients required in the chocolate are mixed and further refined. During conching, further subtle flavour improvements (such as the removal of acidity) occur.

A conch’s design can vary from stone melangers and grinders, to metal rollers and bands rotating at high speed in circular steel heated tanks. The mechanical energy generated by shear forces between the surfaces reduces the overall particle size of the mixture while ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

 

Tempering and moulding

To produce a strong and even chocolate consistency, the mixture must be passed through a series of carefully controlled temperatures which affect the crystallisation or the chocolate.

Inclusions such as nuts and fruit may be added to the final mixture to make a range of interesting chocolate flavours.

The liquid chocolate is then poured into moulds and cooled to form chocolate bars and blocks.

 

 


 

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