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A Flavorful Journey of Beans That Become Bar

27.11.18

"It was a fascinating experience for us to see how cocoa beans can grow so well in the climates of Northern Thailand and how cocoa bars are made."

 

For all of us coffee enthusiasts, our trip to coffee farms in Chiang Mai earlier this year was an absolute treat. We also managed to make a stop at a cocoa farm, and since then, our team members have developed a deep interest in cocoa beans. It was a fascinating experience for us to see how cocoa bars are made and how the beans can grow so well in the climates of Northern Thailand.

The more we became interested in cocoa, the more similarities we started to find in coffee and cocoa. For example, roasting methods directly affect how both types of beans taste. After that trip, whenever we travel, we always have fun tasting cocoa and chocolate bars from other countries. It's certainly a delicious experience!

Another interesting fact about chocolate is that it also has a grading system that classifies which chocolate is considered as ‘fine chocolate.’ According to the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI) and the International Cocoa Organization, fine chocolate is any chocolate made by focusing on quality and attention-to-detail process, including careful selection of only great quality beans and roasting in a small batches to control quality and profile.

While the farm-to-cup concept is often recited in the world of coffee, chocolate also has its own bean-to-bar journey that we also find fascinating and surprisingly comforting at the same time. This flavorful journey begins with cacao trees and ends with the chocolate bars that most of us are more familiar with.

The first step begins with cacao pods. Inside these rugby ball-shaped pods are white cacao beans. Farmers open up the pods to get these beans and ferment them at controlled temperature and time. At this point, the processing method is very similar to that of the honey process we often use with coffee. Then the cacao beans are dried and roasted. These steps result in the unique flavors of the beans.

But this isn't the end of the journey. After that, roasted cacao beans are grounded until they become cocoa nibs. Then the nibs are milled at a high temperature until they start producing cocoa butter. The cocoa particles suspended in cocoa butter create cocoa mass. It is during the next step that sugar and other flavorings are added to chocolate. This might take anything from a few hours to a few days. After the blending is complete, it is time for molding. When the chocolate has cooled down, it is packaged and distributed to us!

It is these similarities as well as the little differences between coffee and chocolate that we find extremely fascinating. We hope to continue this journey of endless learning, tasting and enjoying life's simple pleasures!

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