How Chocolate Is Made

In order to produce the chocolate of today, one must first start with fermented cacao beans, which are roasted, shelled, and shattered into nibs or large fragments. The nibs are then crushed and heated between large milling wheels or disks. The result is a thick, dark brown paste which goes by the trade name of Chocolate Liquor. This Chocolate Liquor, which does not have any alcoholic content, forms the basis of most, if not all, chocolate products. Equally important, it is at this point where the additives and/or further processing will be the main determinate of the type, quality, and flavor of the chocolate product to come.

When put into heavy metal canisters and subjected to a large amount of pressure, the Chocolate Liquor can be separated into its two major components: cocoa butter, a beautiful amber-colored oil, and cocoa powder. The next step is to combine some of the extra cocoa butter with Chocolate Liquor and sugar. The mixture is then stirred or conched in large vats for up to 72 hours. The result is what we know today as Chocolate.