HOW WE MAKE OUR CHOCOLATE Double click me.
STEP 1: SOURCING THE BEANS
Chocolate Maker Jeffray D. Gardner and his team select
cacao beans based on their purity as much as their
personality: sourced from unique locations in Central &
South America and other remote regions in the world,
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. Depending on our source, sometimes we deal with partners who also have great relationships with various farmers in far away places.
STEP 2: HARVESTING, FERMENTING AND DRYING
The cacao 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
careful 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
STEP 3: SORTING, ROASTING
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 hand sort the beans to ensure 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 our
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
huge granite wheels, the cocoa paste is crushed until its particle size is reduced to 20 microns or less.
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 beautiful colorful prints inspired
from the Japanese art culture.