We receive dried, fermented beans direct from our grower in Quevedo, Ecuador. These are the basic raw materials for making chocolate. The beans are surrounded by a tough, inedible shell that is hard to remove.
After roasting in a copper kettle, the shells becomes brittle and can be peeled off by hand. Beans must be peeled by hand for our chocolate covered beans. In the typical chocolate making process, a winnowing machine removes the shell, which is then removed with a blower. However, these machines also break the bean up into what most people know as nibs.
Beans are painstakingly peeled by hand, one by one.
The new panning machine. This is a very basic panner, attached to a Kitchenaid, allowing us to do small-scale, microbatch production. Large industrial panners can hold several hundred pounds at a time and have drip or spray mechanisms for applying coating.
Roasted, peeled beans ready for the panner.
Behold the beans in the panner with an initial coating of chocolate. We add chocolate little by little over a period of several hours to coat the beans. We don’t use any polishes or glazes at the end of the process, preferring to leave the beans with their natural finish, with the addition of just a little cocoa powder and powdered sugar to finish them.
Finished beans still in the panner.