THE MAKING OF CHOCOLATE
STEP 1: SOURCING THE BEANS
Chocolate Maker Jeffray D. Gardner and his team select cocoa beans based on their purity as much as their personality: sourced from a dozen locations, resulting in as many identities and unique flavors. Our chocolate can only be as good as the quality of the cacao we source. We spend a lot of time searching for these rare varieties
of heritage cacao that produce the finest of flavors. To secure
these sources we work hard to build relationships
with our growers. Farmers dealing with farmers – we strive
to deal 100% direct.
STEP 2: HARVESTING, FERMENTING AND DRYING
The cocoa pods are harvested twice a year. Pod color is only a rough guide to bean ripeness. Farmers rely on experience to assess when the perfect ripeness has been reached. A task not made easier by the fact that pods on the same tree do not always ripen evenly. Once opened with a machete, the beans are sorted and then left to ferment for between 3 to 6 days to oxidize the mucilage (the white, sweet pulp that surrounds the beans) that endows the cocoa bean with its first organoleptic properties. A diverse range of flavor is created through a carful fermentation process. Fresh wet beans are placed in wooden boxes, where natural yeasts combine with the fruit sugars to kick-off the ferment and begin a complex flavor development process. Balancing time and temperature, the farmer purposely moves the beans
between the boxes to ensure full flavor development. After the beans have
completed fermentation they are slowly sun dried. The drying process further
develops flavor complexity and bean quality. The way in which a farmer skillfully
dries the bean can be an art form in itself.
STEP 3: SORTING, ROASTING AND GRINDING
Our small factory has specific chocolate making machines each with a job all of its own. Each specifically chosen to perform a traditional task in the intriguing craft of chocolate making. The first step is to meticulously hand sort the beans to ensure that only the finest make it through.
A key step in the manufacture of chocolate, roasting increases and reveals its aromas. Roasting further develops chocolate flavor and locks in bean personality. Roasting should be at the exact temperature with perfect homogeneous rotation so the bitterness, sweetness, toasted or smoked flavor of the bean is revealed. The cacao beans are roasted at approximately 120°C and lasts between 20 to 30 minutes depending on the variety, location and moisture content of the bean. Once roasted, the beans are burst open and coarsely
crushed in the winnower. Pod and
skin residues are then removed by
the use of our winnowing machine.
Step 4: CRUSHING TO REFINING
The nibs obtained from the winnower are first crushed by massive granite wheels rotating inside our melanger. Heated by friction, the cocoa butter melts and transforms into cocoa paste. This granular, acidic paste is then mixed together with sugar and milk powder (for milk chocolate). Through the granite wheels, the cocoa paste is crushed until its particle size is reduced to 20 microns.
Step 5: PRE-CRYSTALLIZE OR TEMPER
After aging, the chocolate is pre-crystallized or tempered which gives the chocolate a smooth texture, glossy shine and pleasant “snap” when bitten or broken. Finally the chocolate is carefully poured into molds and set to rest.
Step 6: WRAPPING
Each bar is hand-wrapped in colorful prints inspired from the Japanese culture.