Big things come from small beginnings. I gonna start my fermentation skill with this single cacao pod. With this quantity, is there enough flora to kick start and complete fermentation? Is there enough juice? Will it generate enough heat? I’m not sure. I need to find it out.
I was hearing a knocking sound when shaking the pod. A sign of ripeness. There are other ways to know when it is ripe. Not sure about it so its not worth mentioning right now.
Cut and partially cut beans are rejects. I better be careful opening and avoid it. With this single pod, damaging beans seems unforgivable.
It turned out a beautiful cut and all beans were safe. It was fragrant, teasing me to do what I used to. Suck all the sweet delicious pulp clean and dry under the sun. However, for the sake of better flavor, I did the right thing. I placed it in container where I think can support fermentation to its fullest.
During the trial, I turned the beans every two days and set for drying on fifth day. Almost no increased temperature observed. Average of 28 C during the period. On the 3rd day the mucilage degradation is imminent. Made a cut test of two beans on the fifth day. The first bean was partially violet and partially brown. The second was brown. It exhibited a winey aroma. The bitterness and astringency subsided. The result was not close to my desired quality but acceptable. I bet the quality expectation will increase as the volume increases. I will update this as necessary.
Few days after the concluded trial, a local farmer met me and showed me sample of her fermented beans. She said she is harvesting few pods a week and fermenting it in a small plastic container covered with banana leaves. The period is seven days but she never knew it needs a few times turning. The bean quality is acceptable so I bought it and the rest for a fair price. It was around 10 kilograms.
Word travel fasts. Another few days and another farmer. His was 52 kilograms. He is fermenting about 10 kg wet beans per batch. His beans also has acceptable quality so I bought all.
He shared some of his valuable experience. Washing and drying beans after removal from pods are hard tasks. The sticky mucilage need some time and effort to force removed. Fermenting the beans is longer but the mucilage degrades on its own. So it is easier in the end. Fermenting the beans also deter pest infestation. Usually, in his previous wash and dry method, the beans are usually infested two weeks after storage. The scenario has never happened for fermented beans.