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making chocolate from cocoa beans

The complex process of making chocolate from cocoa beans

All around the world, Chocolate is consumed in huge quantities by people of all ages and backgrounds. However, the process of making chocolate from the cocoa beans of the cacao trees is a complex and intricate one that involves several steps, from harvesting and fermenting the beans to roasting, grinding, and refining them. In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating journey of how cocoa beans are transformed into delicious chocolate, taking a close look at the key ingredients, fermentation stages, and the various steps involved in producing quality chocolate.
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How does the chocolate making process work?

The chocolate making process begins with harvesting ripe cocoa beans, which are then fermented, dried, and sorted. After this, the beans are roasted to bring out their flavor and aroma. The roasting process also helps to remove some of the bitterness from the beans. Depending on the type of chocolate, the process contains more steps before it’s ready for consumption. We will explain the most common steps here:

  1. From bean to bar – key Ingredients in chocolate making: The first step in making chocolate from cocoa beans is to identify the key ingredients. Cocoa beans are the primary ingredient in chocolate, and they contain several bioactive compounds that give chocolate its distinctive flavor and aroma. However, the final product also contains other ingredients, such as additional cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder or milk fat, depending on the type of chocolate being produced. In addition, you could also add vegetable fat to the mixture to create a smoother texture. Chocolate comes in various types, such as dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. Dark chocolate has a high percentage of cocoa mass, while milk chocolate contains milk powder or milk fat. White chocolate, on the other hand, does not contain any cocoa solids and is made from cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder or milk fat. The production process for each type of chocolate differs slightly, with variations in the amount of cocoa mass, milk powder, and sugar used.
  2. The fermentation stages and the role of acetic acid bacteria: Fermentation is a crucial stage in the chocolate-making process, where the cocoa beans are left to ferment in a controlled environment for several days. This process is responsible for developing the complex flavors and aroma associated with chocolate. During fermentation, acetic acid bacteria and lactic acid bacteria break down the sugars in the cocoa beans, converting them into volatile compounds that give chocolate its unique taste and scent.
  3. Roasting, grinding, and refining the beans: Once the fermentation process is complete, the beans are dried and roasted to bring out their full flavor. The roasting process is done at a temperature that varies from 100°C to 150°C, depending on the desired flavor profile. After roasting, the roasted beans are ground into small particles called cocoa nibs, which are then further refined into a dense cocoa liquor. This process involves grinding the cocoa nibs to create a chocolate mixture that is smooth and free of air bubbles.
  4. Tempering and molding the chocolate: After the chocolate mixture is created, it needs to be tempered to give it a smooth texture and a shiny finish. This process involves carefully controlling the temperature of the untempered chocolate, which is heated, cooled, and then reheated to create a stable crystal structure. At Royal Duyvis Wiener we have a variety of chocolate tempering machines for all type of chocolate makers. Once the chocolate is tempered, it can be molded into different shapes, such as bar chocolate or chocolate coins.
  5. Quality control and storage: The final step in the chocolate-making process is quality control and storage. During quality control, the chocolate is checked for particle size, moisture content, and fat content to ensure that it meets the desired specifications. The finished product is then stored in an airtight container to prevent moisture and external mold growth. The storage temperature is also important, with the ideal temperature range being between 15°C and 18°C.

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Different chocolate making techniques

We have explained a possible guideline of the chocolate making process, but there are different techniques used in making chocolate. These techniques include chocolate from scratch and batch chocolate making. In chocolate from scratch, the entire process, from roasting the cocoa beans to molding the finished chocolate, is done in-house. Batch chocolate making, on the other hand, involves using pre-made chocolate liquor to create a finished chocolate product. Commercial chocolate is often produced using this method.

High quality Chocolate machinery: 5-roll refiner

Explore our newest 5 Roll Refiner

“The smart design of this machine allows universal roll management. Do you have main brand rolls and gears in your warehouse? Not to worry, all main brand rolls and gears can be fitted into this machine with the service you’re used to from Royal Duyvis Wiener technical support engineers”

The chocolate industry and sustainability

The chocolate industry is a multibillion-dollar industry, with countries such as Central and Latin America being major producers of cocoa beans. However, there are concerns about the sustainability of the industry, particularly with regards to the environmental impact of cocoa farming and the welfare of cacao farmers. Several initiatives are underway to promote sustainability in the industry, such as fair trade practices and the use of environmentally friendly garden fertilizers. Keep in mind, it is also important for you as a chocolate maker to source high-quality cocoa beans from reputable suppliers.


In conclusion, making chocolate from cocoa beans is a complex and fascinating process that involves several steps, from harvesting and fermenting the beans to roasting, grinding, and refining them. Each step in the chocolate-making process plays a crucial role in developing the complex flavors and aromas associated with your delicious chocolate. From the fermentation stages to the tempering and molding of the chocolate, each step should be carefully controlled to ensure that the finished product is of the highest quality. With the use of modern equipment and techniques, you are now able to produce delicious chocolate products that are enjoyed by people all over the world. It is worth noting that the quality of chocolate is heavily influenced by the quality of the cocoa beans used in the production process.

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