Cocoa Production Steps

Cocoa liquor is the liquid cocoa mass obtained after the roasting and grinding of the cocoa bean. (Despite its name, cocoa liquor contains no alcohol whatsoever. It is also sometimes called „cocoa mass“.) The production process from cocoa bean to cocoa liquor is as follows:

1. Cocoa bean

We take care to buy only the highest quality West African cocoa beans from Ghana and Ivory Cost for our production. Every year our expert buyers travel to West Africa to sample and inspect the crop for such quality – critical factors as ripeness, fermentation, drying and storage quality, ensuring the purchase of each season’s premium produce.

2. Cleaning of foreign materials

Where different origin beans are required for a specific recipe, they are blended and mixed in right proportion and fed into the cleaning machine where all foreign bodies such as sand, dirt and stones are removed. Foreign bodies such as dust, soil, rope, root of plants, stone, metals are removed by cleaning step.

3. Roasting

This is a heat treatment which is used for taste and color developing of the cocoa beans. The raw cocoa beans has no chocolate flavour – it is formed during the process of roasting. Roasting may be conducted before the shelling of the bean as well as after shelling /called „nib roasting“/. When the entire bean is roasted, the shell protects the cocoa “nib”, sealing aromatic oils. The amount of heat applied may vary according to the specific application.

4. Cutting and winnowing

After being roasted, the beans are cut and shells are removed. One cocoa bean has 12% shell, but at the end of the winnowing step the shell content is reduced to 1 % - 1.75 %.

5. Nib Grinding

Cocoa liquor is obtained by grinding the nibs by grinders. The cocoa nib consists of 52-54% cocoa oil. Together with the heat generated in the grinding process, the cocoa mass turns into the liquid “cocoa liquor”.

6. Cocoa liquor flavour improvement

This process improves the microbiological profile of the cocoa mass and allows for the development of different colouring and flavour notes. This assists in the customization of the product and creates costs savings by reducing conching periods at the chocolate manufacturing stage.

7. Cocoa liquor refinement

After the improvement step cocoa liquor is refined by final grinders. This additional process improves product texture and ensures that the exact specified particle size required for a specific application and recipe is achieved.

8. Packaging or liquid delivery

Once cocoa liquor has been obtained, there are different routes this product can take. It can be packaged in 25-kg carton boxes with HDPE inner package and delivered to clients in solid form. It can also be delivered with tankers in liquid form or pressed to further processing in order to obtain pure cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

9. Pressing

Cocoa liquor is sent to the pressing machines in order to obtain cocoa powder and cocoa butter. When cocoa liquor is subjected to high pressure inside hydraulic presses, the liquid fat inside the liquor is separated from the cocoa solids. Called „cocoa butter“, this gold-coloured precious fat is separated from the cocoa solids for further use in the chocolate making process.

10. Cake crushing, Cooling, Grinding

On the other side of the hydraulic presses, flat „cocoa press cakes“ consisting of dry cocoa solids are obtained from the cocoa liquor. These cakes are first crushed, then cooled and then ground to produce fine cocoa powder.

11. Cocoa powder packaging

Natural or alkalized cocoa powders are packaged and delivered 25-kg kraft paper bags for bulk use.

12. Cocoa butter packaging and liquid delivery

After pressing and filtration natural cocoa butter is ready to be delivered to the customer. Natural cocoa butter is packed in 25-kg carton boxes with HDPE inner package, filled into heated liquid road tankers for liquid deliveries or sent to deodorization plant.

13. Deodorization

By deodorization process flavour and taste substances inside the natural cocoa butter is taken out. As a result we obtain deodorized cocoa butter with neutral taste and flavour. In this way, the deodorized cocoa butter is packed in 25-kg carton boxes or filled to tankers for liquid deliveries.