Processing of Cocoa Beans



      Fermentation of Cocoa beans is essential to remove the mucilaginous pulp, to develop flavour and aroma precursors, reduce bitterness, kill the germ of the seed and to loosen the testa. Among the various methods adopted for fermentation in different cocoa producing countries, Heap, Box Tray and Basket methods are considered as the standard methods.


      This method involves keeping a mass of not less than 50 kg. of wet beans over a layer of banana leaves. The banana leaves are spread over a few sticks to keep them a little raised over the ground level to facilitate the flow of sweating. The leaves are folded and kept over a heap of beans and a few wooden pieces kept over it to keep the leaves in position. The heaps are dismantled and the beans mixed the third and fifth days. It needs about six days for the completion of fermentation and the beans can be taken out for drying on the seventh day.
      Even though the minimum quantity of beans required for effective fermentation is 50 kg. a further increase in quantity of beans in a heap will be beneficial. However, heaps of more than about 500 kg. may be difficult to handle.


      Wooden trays of size 90 cm x 60 cm x 13 cm with battens or reapers fixed at the bottom with gaps in between, are filled with beans. Each tray can contain about 45 kg. wet beans. Six such trays are stacked one over the other and an empty tray is kept at the bottom to allow for drainage of sweating. After stacking, the beans of the top most tray are kept covered with banana leaves. After 24 hours of setting the stack of trays is kept covered with gunny sacking to conserve the heat that develops. There is no need for mixing the beans and fermentation will be completed in four days. On the fifth day the beans can be taken out for drying.
      The minimum number of trays required to be stacked is about six but as many as 12 trays can be used simultaneously.


The website last updated on 30 Nov 2023
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