Raw Chocolate… IMO

The is no such thing as raw chocolate. On the contrary, there is. The wet cacao beans fresh from pod are are the purest and raw chocolate. However, it couldn’t be eaten as is. It need to undergo several lengthy processes to improved palatability.

The process starts as soon as the cocoa pod is cut open.

First is fermentation. With the help of microorganisms and wet condition. The beans ferment, bean flavor develops and temperature reaches to about 50 C. It is 10 degrees above to what raw chocolate makers process claim. It is possible to control the temperature down to this point, but I bet most chocolate makers can’t do it.

A rare cacao variety called criollo never needs fermentation. Other variety must.

Drying. Bean moisture should be dropped down to acceptable level as soon as possible. About seven percent. Else, unwanted incidents might happen. Over fermentation and mold growth. According to my friend, drying period is about five to seven days. The first two days are critical. If the sun never shines, they dry it in oven at about 70C. Sunshine temp rarely goes 40 but oven drying temp is 30 degrees higher.

Roasting. Temperature from 100 to 150 C, time of 5 to 45 minutes, depending on resource and processor. Raw chocolate makers skip this step. The step essential to kill harmful microorganisms. If we trace back where the beans came from. Then we don’t need to ask if it contains bacteria. We really need to do something to get rid of it.

Refining/Conching. Another process that can be temperature controlled. In my own experience, my own melanger only reaches a max temperature of 50C. Measures such as lower rotation speed and cooling system can be implemented to lower the heat down to 40C. Indeed, but the stone melanger runs for 24 hours to 3 days. How can we still claim it is raw when it runs in between stones for that length.


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