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The road from cocoa bean to chocolate bar is a long and complicated one. Cocoa beans are found inside pods that grow on the cocoa trees of South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. After the beans have been harvested and dried, they are sent to a factory where they are meticulously cleaned and then roasted at over 250 degrees Fahrenheit. After the beans cool, their shells are removed and disposed of by another machine called a "cracker and fanner." With their shells now gone, the beans are crushed by large grinding stones until they are completely liquefied. The liquid, called chocolate liquor, can then be poured into molds and allowed to solidify. It is then sent to be made into either cocoa powder or chocolate candy.
Cocoa powder is created by pressing cocoa butter from the chocolate liquor with a large hydraulic press. The resulting dense cake is then crushed into powder and sifted. It is now ready to be packaged and sold.
Chocolate for eating is made by adding cocoa butter to chocolate liquor. This creamy mixture is combined with a variety of different ingredients depending on which type of chocolate is being made. At this point, the mixture is ground into a smooth paste by heavy rollers until it is smooth. After a process called “conching” in which the mixture is kneaded for up to several days, the chocolate is almost ready. It is tempered by periodic cooling and reheating until it is finally ready to be molded into popular shapes such as chocolate hearts, chocolate coins, and chocolate bars. The chocolate is cooled until firm, wrapped by machines, and packed for distribution.