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
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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
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3. Next, they are roasted, enhancing their colour and aroma, before the shells are separated from each bean through kibbling and winnowing.
A Bean
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4. The beans are then ground into non-alcoholic chocolate liquor.
Conching
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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
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6. The chocolate is gently cooled while being stirred, a process called tempering that ensures it hardens properly.
Chocolate Mixing
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7. Finally, it is moulded, packaged and distributed to a shop near you.
Chocolate Squirting
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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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