Making exquisite chocolate can only be possible if you have the best quality cocoa. A lot of time is invested in searching for the best quality cocoa all around the world that produces the finest flavours. Sourcing quality cocoa and working directly with growers as well as building good relationships with them is the first crucial step in the process of creating our artisan bean to bar chocolate.
The beans need to be cleaned to remove any unwanted debris and then sorted by hand to remove any poor-quality beans to ensure that only the best beans are transformed into chocolate.
Roasting is a very important step in developing the flavor of the beans. While the beans are being roasted a complicated set of chemical reactions help develop the chocolate flavor of the bean. Our beans are delicately roasted in small batches in our coffee roaster and a unique roasting profile is developed for each bean origin.
The next step is to remove the husk from the roasted and cooled cocoa bean. This is achieved by first cracking the beans into small pieces. Using vacuum pressure we are then able to suck the lighter husk off of the heavier nib.
The nibs and sugar are ground to a fine paste (also known as chocolate liqour) using a pre-grinding mill. This initial grinding not only begins to reduce the particle size of the nibs but also releases the cocoa butter within the beans.
Using a three-roll refiner we are able to accurately and precisely grind the coarse chocolate liqour into a smooth paste. The paste is poured between the first two rollers, the feeder roll and the centre roll. The chocolate then runs through the final roll, called the apron roll, where it is scraped off and transferred to the apron pan. The chocolate is then scraped into a bucket and put through the rollers again for a second pass.This process not only reduces the particle size of the chocolate, but also coats the newly broken solid particle surfaces with cocoa butter. This stage is critical to giving our chocolate a silky mouth feel and delicate melt.
Conching is a process where the chocolate is heated during an extended period of aeration and agitation under shear force to round out the tiny particles of cocoa, which usually takes between 24 and 72 hours. This process not only enables the chocolate flavour to mature and develop, but also improves the texture of the chocolate whilst removing volatile acidic flavours. As a result the flavor notes of the chocolate are more pronounced, and the chocolate has a glossy, silky smooth finish.
Tempering is a very important step to ensure each chocolate bar looks and tastes its best. Tempering involves a process of heating and cooling the chocolate to encourage specific cocoa butter fat crystals to form. Cocoa butter forms distinct crystalline structures at different temperatures, the aim of tempering is to isolate a specific crystal structure that gives chocolate its beautiful glossy sheen, a crisp snap and slow melt in your mouth. We use a sophisticated machine to help us do this accurately. Once the chocolate is tempered it is then deposited into bar moulds. Finally the bars are hand-foiled and wrapped in packaging.