The Journey of a Cocoa Bean

| April 8, 2012

Soil to Foil

1. A seed is planted, a tree is grown. After as little as 3 years, the first cacao seeds can be harvested.

Cocoa Pod
2. The seeds are left to ferment; flavour develops, bitterness subsides, and cocoa beans are born. They are then spread and dried before being sent to factories as raw cocoa.
Beans Drying
3. Next, they are roasted, enhancing their colour and aroma, before the shells are separated from each bean through kibbling and winnowing.
A Bean
4. The beans are then ground into non-alcoholic chocolate liquor.
5. Ingredients such as sugar and milk are added, and the liquid is conched (a mixing process that develops texture and flavour).
More Chocolate Mixing
6. The chocolate is gently cooled while being stirred, a process called tempering that ensures it hardens properly.
Chocolate Mixing
7. Finally, it is moulded, packaged and distributed to a shop near you.
Chocolate Squirting
Today, chocolate can be found in many guises all over the world…

Chocolate of the World

Graphics by Rose Gledhill

Images by benketaro, Paul Keller, Sanjay Acharya, EverJean, mccun934, EverJean

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Category: Food & Drink

About the Author ()

The best travel experience I’ve ever had was in Laos, Southeast Asia. We’d arrived in the north of the country via a cockroach-infested slow boat on the Mekong River, and decided to head east instead of following most other travellers down the neck of the country. Our journey took us to a small village called Nong Khiaw, a place of staggering beauty and absolute peace, where we stayed for two nights in a bamboo hut that cost about £2 a night; the price included a free cockerel wake-up call. If off-the-beaten-track exists, this is the closest I’ve ever been to it. The travel experience I’d most like to have is completing some kind of impossible journey, probably involving a motorbike and a gigantic hostile expanse like Siberia, or a small boat and the even bigger expanse of the Pacific Ocean. It’ll probably never happen, principally because I can’t ride a motorbike and I can’t captain a boat, but it’d be a great experience nonetheless. Failing this, I’d like to give India a second chance, as I failed to fall in love with it the first time, and I’m desperate to set foot upon African soil for the first time.

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