How is our cocoa made?
Two thirds of the world's cocoa supply comes from West Africa, where roughly 70% of the world’s cocoa beans come from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon mostly on small, family-owned farms. Only 5% of global cocoa comes from large plantations of 40 hectares or more. Global cocoa production provides livelihoods for between 40 and 50 million farmers.
Cocoa originates from the seeds (cocoa beans) of the cocoa fruits (cocoa pods), which grow on cocoa trees. Each cocoa pod contains around 20 to 30 seeds sitting in a sweet white pulp – these are the actual cocoa beans. When the pods are ripe, they are cut from the trees by hand, collected and split open revealing rows of cocoa beans. The pulp is gently removed and then the beans are fermented, dried and cleaned before processing.
The processing of cacao-beans into cocoa powder involves 4 core stages:
Winnowing: separating the cacao beans from the shells
Roasting: gently roasting the beans to remove bacteria and bring out flavor
Grinding: to turn the beans into cocoa liquor
Milling: The cocoa butter is removed from the liquor leaving pure cocoa which is milled into a fine powder
It takes a whole year’s crop from one tree to make half a kilo of cocoa. Because all pods do not ripen at the same time, the trees are continuously monitored.