There is a consistent pattern to chocolate making although manufacturers may incorporate their own nuances throughout the process to achieve their desired finished chocolate product. Pristine Chocolates , Kerala is one of very a few in the world manufacturers that make chocolate starting from the cocoa farming to finished products.After the cocoa beans are carefully selected, they are cleaned when they pass through a bean cleaning machine that removes extraneous materials. Different bean varieties are then precisely blended to produce the desired flavor of chocolate.Developing the right formula of beans is integral to the art and science of chocolate making.
The beans are roasted to develop the characteristic chocolate flavor. They are roasted in large rotary cylinders. Depending on the varieties of the beans and the desired end result, the roasting lasts from 30 minutes to two hours at very high temperatures.
During roasting, the bean color changes to a rich brown, and the aroma of chocolate comes through. After roasting, the bean shells are cracked and removed, leaving the essence of pure chocolate called the "nib". For Dutch roasts, an alkaline solution is added to produce nibs that are darker and less acidic in flavor.
The cocoa press hydraulically squeezes a portion of the cocoa butter from the chocolate liquor, leaving "cocoa cakes." The cocoa butter is used in the manufacture of chocolates; the remaining cakes of cocoa solids are pulverized into cocoa powders.
Conching is a flavor development process during which the chocolate is put under constant agitation. The conching machines, called "conches," have large paddles that sweep back and forth through the refined chocolate mass anywhere from a few hours to several days.
Conching reduces moisture, drives off any lingering acidic flavors, and coats each particle of chocolate with a layer of cocoa butter. The resulting chocolate has a smoother, mellower flavor.
Ingredients such as chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, and milk powder, in quantities that make up the different types of chocolate, are blended in mixers to a paste with the consistency of dough. Chocolate refiners, a set of rollers, crush the paste into flakes that are significantly reduced in size. This step is critical in determining how smooth chocolate is when eaten.At Pristine Chocolates , Kerala , we refine many of our chocolates to 19 microns, giving them an extremely smooth texture with no "graininess," unlike other mass market chocolates that are only refined to 40 microns.
The chocolate then undergoes a tempering heating and cooling process that creates small, stable cocoa butter crystals in the fluid chocolate mass.Proper tempering creates a finished product that has a glossy, smooth appearance.
The molded chocolate enters controlled cooling tunnels to solidify the pieces. Depending on the size of the chocolate pieces, the cooling cycle takes between 20 minutes to two hours. From the cooling tunnels, the chocolate is packaged for delivery to retailers and ultimately into the hands of consumers.