As with wine, each cocoa bean is representative of its region, or terroir. Flavour depends on a variety of factors, including soil, variety and production processes. In any case, a good cocoa bean is a bean that has been carefully selected, fermented and dried.
During harvesting time, the cocoa pods are harvested and the beans removed from the pods. They are then fermented for four to six days in wooden boxes or under banana leaves. This step is vital for the development of the natural cocoa bean flavour; it accounts for an important part of the chocolate’s final flavour.
To ensure a smooth drying process, the fermented beans are then dried using a solar drying system with a maximum 6% humidity level. In rainy conditions, hot air blowers can be used to artificially dry the beans.
To evaluate their quality we conduct a ‘cut test’, which involves analysing different quality parameters such as external appearance, moisture and internal appearance (level of fermentation, presence of defects, etc.).