Bean to Bar Chocolate; It’s A Process!
If you’re a chocolate lover, bean to bar might be the new buzz-word in your vocabulary. But what does it actually mean? Bean to bar chocolate is a term used for chocolate that has been manufactured from bean-to-bar rather than being mass produced by a company. Let’s explore the bean to bar process and provide some benefits of going with our organic bean to bar chocolate!
The bean to bar chocolate process works from the bean of a cocoa seed all the way through production. It is important that each step in this process be done by hand and with great attention to detail, as it means that less machines are needed which results in higher quality products! The bean itself must go into an organic fermentation before being dried up. This is a process that takes at least 28 days in total.
Respect The Process
Drying the beans means that the moisture inside the beans decreases from 60% to around 6%. Water is chocolate’s biggest enemy, believe it or not! Any excess moisture can really throw up some problems at any and every stage of the chocolate making process. So, it’s really important to dry the beans and respect H2O!
From there, it goes through an intricate bean-drying process before being ground down in order to create the chocolate liquor which will be used for all products made with bean to bar chocolate.
Nurture The Bean
First, bean to bar chocolate starts with the bean. As you can see in our organic bean to bar chocolate product line , there are several different varieties of beans that go into making this unique product. We source cocoa beans from Peru where they grow on plantations high up in the Andean mountains! The beans are then harvested and sent to over to our chocolate kitchen where they begin their journey towards becoming delicious bars of organic bean to bar chocolate!
The Raw Power of Cacao
In most instances, they are then roasted to release their flavours. However, at Mr Popple’s Chocolate, we skip this step in order to preserve all the raw goodness, such as antioxidants and polyphenols that would otherwise be lost in the roasting process.
Nibs and All!
The cacao beans are then cracked and winnowed, which means that they are shelled and cracked into smaller pieces called cacao nibs. These are the most desirable part of the bean. Then they’re checked for pathogens, a really important step in this process. The bean shells can be used in other products such as organic chocolate tea (see our ‘5 Handy Uses of Cacao’ post)! Now that there is nothing left but cocoa beans and their fragments (cocoa nibs), the real bean to bar chocolate process can begin.
The beans are then ground into a lovely thick paste called ‘chocolate liquor’. This process is called conching, and this is where the true flavour of chocolate is born! When conching takes place cocoa butter is distributed evenly and the characteristic chocolatey flavour is developed. At Mr Popple’s Chocolate, our beans are put through a grinder for several days in order to produce the best results.
The tempering process means that the bean to bar chocolate is heated and cooled at precise temperatures. Tempering chocolate is the process of heating, cooling and then reheating melted cocoa butter in order to achieve perfectly shiny chocolate. This is a vital step of the chocolate making process, as if this step is done incorrectly crystals and bubbles can be formed, as well as unsightly white marks appearing on the chocolate bars when formed. When tempering is done perfectly, it gives the chocolate a velvety smooth texture, gleaming shine and a satisfying snap when broken.
Moulding The Future Of Cacao
Next, the chocolate is then carefully poured into our bespoke moulds. These moulds are then refrigerated until the bars are perfectly set. Time is key in the bean to bar process, respecting the chocolate is the way to get amazing results.
That’s A Wrap!
The final step of the bean to bar chocolate process is getting the chocolate wrapped up and ready to go! We seal our chocolate in eco-friendly packaging, Natureflex wrap and recyclable paper outer casings. We do one final quality check to make sure our bars are perfect, then we wave goodbye to our chocolatey creations and ship them out to shops and customers nationwide.
Bean To Bar is Best
The bean to bar process is a lot of work, but we think it’s totally worth it! If you’re a bean to bar chocolate lover, make sure to check out our organic bean to bar chocolate range today.
Find out more at mrpoppleschocolate.co.uk