What about the cocoa history?
According to the records, there were already wild cocoa trees available in the 4000 BC.Yamaha people maybe the first person to made the drink with cocoa beans.The natural tropical rainforest climate here also gives the cocoa trees a huge shade to prevent the cocoa trees from being exposed to direct sunlight and large changes in wetness.
The earliest use of cocoa was in the last emperor of the Asteka dynasty in Mexico, Meng Teru.He ground the cocoa into powder and brew water for direct drinking.The price of chocolate in that era was not cheap, only the rich family or the royal family had the opportunity to enjoy it. The universality is not high.Columbus was exposed to cocoa beans when he discovered the New World in 1505.Since the cocoa was too bitter to drink it,Columbus didn't take cocoa beans back his country.
The value of cocoa beans was extremely high during the Aztec dynasty. It was valued by the society at that time, and even once used as a coin, as a way for people to exchange money.The Spanish explorer Kurtz was quite curious about it. In the year, he officially introduced cocoa beans to the then-in-place king, and informed the king of the local situation. Then the king ordered him to grind the cocoa beans into powder. After the king drinked the hot cocoa, he said:"I feel very spiritual to do things." From that time,the cocoa beans became the imperial beverage in the palace and were forbidden to pass on to each other, result to the cocoa beans being closed in the Spanish dynasty for many years.
Later, because of the in-law combination with neighboring countries, the cocoa beans were introduced to Italy in 1606.In the 17th century, cocoa were used with large quantities in the Netherlands and France. With the cultural exchange, the cocoa beans arised in the UK market, the British tried to add sugar to chocolate and became a new chocolate that was better than before which was too popular to hardly keep pace (up) with the demand. So the first commercial chocolate manufacturing factory was set up. This is the reason why we can found so many black chocolate products on the market today. Various cocoa butter content products have also been introduced.
In the 18th century of Switzerland, someone added milk into the chocolate and found another new flavor.Then Switzerland became the first country to make milk chocolate.
At the beginning of the 19th century,cocoa market demand is growing. The Netherlands formulated different cocoa paste or adjust cocoa butter content to create different flavors and tastes, which was widely accepted by the market. At the same time, another breakthrough is cosmetic products.Cocoa butter is solid at 18-20°C , but dissolves quickly when the temperature is mentioned at 26°C. At this time,cocoa butter is the best material for making high-quality cosmetics or lipsticks . Today, cocoa is grown in 45 different countries around the world. The global annual production averages around 3 million tons, they are distributed between 65% and 70% in the Ivory Coast of West Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. Between 12% and 13% of cocoa beans are distributed in Central and South America(Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico and Guatemala, Peru and other places).7% of cocoa beans are from Southeast Asian countries(Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea).
Different type of cocoa
Cocoa spreads in two directions from the center of origin.The major cultivar groups are thin skin and thick skin. At present, the world's cocoa is produced from the thick skin variety, mainly from West African countries and Brazil.
Criollo was the originally cocoa beans variety that Venezuela exported to European,which was very rare native species with sparse yield. It was only about 3% of the world's total cocoa production, but the quality is very good. The taste is very mellow and soft, so it is famous for producing fine chocolate.
Faristro is another cocoa bean which is a tough, prolific variety that accounts for about 85% of the world's production. This chocolate is usually relatively light in taste, but may also have a pronounced floral or fruity flavor, depending on where it is produced. It is a representative variety of cocoa.
Trinidadio is a new variety produced by the breeding of Criollo and Forastero, originating in the Caribbean island of Trinidad. This chocolate has a very rich, long-lasting aroma.
Processing of Cocoa Beans
1. Harvesting of cocoa pods:
There are two main harvesting time of cocoa beans during the year. The main harvest period is from October to March. The above 3/4 of cocoa production in the world is harvested at this time. The secondary harvest period is from May to August. However, Brazil's production during this time is greater than the main harvest period. Because of thee large number of global cocoa production areas, it has formed continuous production throughout the year, and reducing the impact of seasonal factors.
Cocoa pods need to be carefully picked by hand.The cocoa trees begin to bear cocoa pods when it at least reaches the age of 3 or 4. but But only when the cocoa tree reaches the age of six that the cocoa pods can be used to make cocoa products.Each tree can produce about 80 pods per year, but the cocoa tree has only 40 years of life.Therefore, each cocoa tree can produce about 1000 kilograms of cocoa beans in a lifetime.
Each cocoa pod is about 15 to 20 cm long.when you cut into cocoa pods with a knife, a machete or a stick,you will found that contains 20-40 cocoa beans in the white flesh with polysaccharide gums.
2. Fermentation and drying:
Once the cocoa pods are opened, the cocoa beans are separated from the polysaccharide gums. Then place the beans in a box or basket for a few days. Cocoa beans will be covered with the banana leaves and natural fermentation will occur soon. Fermentation also prevents the cocoa beans from rot. The whole process is an indispensable step in producing the right aromatic molecules. it plays a key role in the formation of chocolate flavor.
In the factory, tons of cocoa beans are packed in huge sacks and transported into the workshop, then poured into large fermentation tanks and fermenters for fermentation. The fermentation time is about one week.The bitter taste of cocoa also can be removed during this time.
The fermented cocoa beans are dried in the sun, and the water content will drop from 70% to 7%. In order to maintain the quality of cocoa beans, cocoa beans must be exposed to outdoor sunlight. The cocoa beans are spread on a flat or straw mat then the farmers can flipped at any time. Dried cocoa beans have a special flavor and aroma, which are also the main raw material for making chocolate.
4.Bagging and Shipping:
Placing them in a linen bag after classification according to the caliber of cocoa beans, then move them into containers and transport them to the chocolate factory. From cocoa beans to chocolate, complex processing procedures are required. Cocoa beans from the place of origin to the processing factory must be stored separately according to their varieties and production areas, and mixed according to special proportions.cocoa beans of different varieties and different origins have different flavors and flavors.
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