Have you ever wondered how everyone’s favourite, chocolate is made? Did you know chocolate is from a tree! Cocoa beans are grown in several countries and this is what starts the chocolate process. Let’s begin at the start, what does it begin with anyway? Cocoa beans are dry and fertilised seeds that create many products, one of them being chocolate.
Don’t get too carried away, there is still a lot of steps till cocoa beans become chocolate. Firstly, cocoa beans are grown in pods where they grow off the trunk or branches of the tree. After 3-5 years, each tree can produce more than 20 pods. Workers then use hooked blades to cut the pods off the tree, they are then collected into baskets which are taken to the processing house.Where is cocoa trees grown though? Cocoa trees can often be found in LEDC countries. Ghana is a great example of where cocoa trees grow, it can grow in Ghana due to it being close to the equator.
Therefore allowing the climate to be humid with regular rains as well as a short dry season. This is the perfect climate to grow cocoa beans.Secondly, the workers carefully split open the pods to release all the cocoa beans. The beans and pits are scoped quickly and usually wrapped in banana leaves to ferment. The next step is to dry the fermented cocoa beans in the burning sun. Drying the seeds allow it to remove all the moisture so they will be approximately half the weight when they are finished. The final stage before it is shipped is too scoop all the beans into big sacks where there are examined to make sure each one is good to go.
The workers then load the big sacks into a cargo ship which is then taken to a rich country such as Belgium, Switzerland and France. Each chocolate manufacturer has their own ‘secret recipe’ which allows it to be unique however they all go through similar steps. Once the cocoa beans have arrived at the manufacturing plant, the beans go through a process of extensive sampling and testing. This process is used so the beans can be tested to see if there are any defects such as mold or insects. After that the beans are roasted, this is when the beans release the rich aroma and that delicious chocolate flavour. The roasting process allow the cocoa shells rather brittle.
It then goes into a winnowing machine where it removes all the thing shells surrounding the beans.Now, many artisans combine the two steps; grinding and conching, into one step by using a machine. The machine is a very large, metal cylinder that has two rotating wheels which allows it to grind and refine the chocolate into small particles. During this process, the magic happens! We can finally add the sugar, milk powder and any other flavourings which makes the chocolate taste so good.
The final step in the factory is to mold the liquidy goodness by using a plastic chocolate shaped mold. Big chocolate producers will have machines to do this but otherwise, it is a hand job. Then the chocolate is wrapped and is ready to be shipped off to countries around the world.