Bean Sorting Process

export quality cacao beans

The beans are unsorted when it arrives. All of them are unsorted. Sometimes the sack needs very little sorting but most of the time it awful in the eye. Needless to say, sorting is always a necessary procedure. Strict quality control is necessary for quality product and consumer satisfaction. Let start.

All beans should be well fermented. However, I am still buying small batches coming in from small time planters, around two to ten kilograms. I am explaining to them that it they should ferment it next time. There are two considerations here. Buying the beans whether it is fermented or not encourages the farmers to plant cacao. They are going to plant more if they have sure buyer. The other thing, inclusion of unfermented beans should be minimal. I shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of my product.

Moldy beans and beans infested with weevils (bukbok in Tagalog) are no no. All of the them are rejects. If the sack has significant amount of these, then I simply won’t buy it. Sorry farmer! You should take good care of your produce next time to make it worth buying. I still remember the Entrepreneurial students who included these defects, and another woman that did the same. Their product were all rejected by customers. During the sorting process, moldy beans are very easy to spot. White feathery structure covering the shell. Sometimes it is only superficial that it never affects the nibs inside. It is still a gamble though so it should be thrown away whichever the case maybe. Few weevil infested seeds on a good batch are the hard to find. You need to look for beans with holes. Turn a good look at it, turn it around. A very slow process. Don’t be deceived by a good looking bean with a single weevil hole. Try cracking those and you’ll find out that most of the cotyledon are completely eaten.

Smaller and larger beans. I am saying it again. Per roasting batch should have uniform bean sizes. Larger roast slower and smaller roast faster. Unevenly roasted beans in the end. If the larger beans are our reference point, the smaller is expected to be burnt. If we reverse the situation, the larger beans will end up raw. Raw are dreadfully bitter. I dislike it ten times more than bitter gourd.

Thin beans. They have very thin nibs to almost no nibs at all. Roasting them is such a waste time. Do I mention they likely to get burnt in roasting process. The green mesh. This is not a defect but a tool I am using for easier sorting. I simply lay the beans on it and mix it a little. Broken beans, dust and small stones automatically fall off.

Wet beans. If the whole batch is uniformly and obviously have higher moisture, I dry it under the sun until acceptable level is achieved. I have no bean moisture meter yet but I can tell by its look and feel. I never store wet beans as they are good media for mold growth. I am doing my best to dry them as soon as possible. The magnet. Just in case, it pulls up metals that are accidentally added. It can never pull all types of metal though. I recommend lining it underside the green mesh and passing all the beans on the line before putting to selected bin.


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