Cocoa fermentation

12 Mar 2018


Chocolate taste development

Flavour development in chocolate is a little bit comparable with wine. The variety of the cocoa beans (Criollo, forastero, Trinitario) and the region are important, just like you have a difference between a Chardonnay, Merlot or Sauvignon.

But the way the freshly harvested beans are treated is even more important in flavour development. Fermentation is a critical step to develop the beans’ natural flavours. It’s a process of about 6-8 days, in which the white sweet pulp surrounding the cocoa beans will evolve thanks to natural biochemical reactions.

It helps to remove the natural tannins and acids present in the cacao bean. Tannins bring an astringent and bitter flavor to the final chocolate. So the fewer tannins there are in the bean to begin with, the easier it is for chocolate makers to bring out the natural flavors and achieve an optimal flavor profile to make the best chocolate possible.

Control the natural fermentation process

At Puratos we have a long checklist to control this natural fermentation process, to make sure the final fermented beans can deliver the exact taste we wish to obtain. Educated fermenters control the fermentation in our Cacao-Trace Post-Harvest centres or on the fields following Puratos standards.

And dedicated R&D teams are looking daily for new ways to improve taste in this step. Our sustainable cocoa programme is not only about increasing the livelihoods of farmers. It’s about creating value for customers, and redistributing that value back to our Cacao-Trace farmers. So great tasting chocolate can be enjoyed for generations to come .