Winnowing cocoa is the most inconsequential task in making chocolate. Not.

Winnowing cocoa is the most inconsequential task in the chocolate industry. Not. 

I've assembled a few websites on the subject of removing the shells from the cocoa bean.

Wild Mountain Chocolate: Cocoa beans are covered by a thin shell that MUST be removed before they can be ground into chocolate. Winnowing is the process of removing the outer shell of the cocoa bean in a way that ensures the meat of the cocoa bean is left mostly intact. Winnowing is an ancient agricultural process used to remove chaff from grain.

Nemisto: Our machines are unequalled in their efficiency. The adjustments are super precise so the results are amazing.
Grooved rollers crush the cocoa beans into tiny pieces; the crushed kernels which result are known as nibs. A powerful stream of air and several sieving and vibratory stages separate the lighter shells and any remaining impurities from the cocoa nibs. 

A good winnower is very important for making chocolate. We have the right machines for all workshops and manufacturers. Perfectly tuned so that the loss of good cacao nibs is minimal. 
... an efficient vacuum system where the husk is separated (presence < 1%).

Multiple control points in the feeder, suction and the flow system allow you to control the degree of separation of the husk from the nibs easily and finely. One or two passes can produce a 98% separation easily.

Remaining impurities = dirt, pulp, shell fragments and cocoa nibs. 

Did you notice that 2% is acceptable?

Our technique leaves 0% shell casing in your chocolate.

Expensively Made Chocolate

by Constantine nov 2, 2019

small and large cocoa beans

I always ask potential customers if they have ever tasted our chocolate before. If not, a free whiff awaits from the wine cooler (60 ) where our chocolate is displayed. You will know you have arrived to heavenly nirvana or not.

Can chocolate be made where every cocoa bean's content is extracted? Yes, it is. One must peel the beans by hand.

The trade-offs are many: expensive vs. cheap; small batch vs. large batch; textured vs. smooth; strong aroma vs. little aroma; a robust taste of chocolate vs. hints of blah, blah, blah; aftertaste: chocolate note vs. sweet; consumption: prudent vs. impulsive; physiological: medicinal vs. sugary treat. Balancing the healing effects of chocolate and the smooth, highly processed status quo is challenging to promote 'good chocolate' to the marketplace.

Please observes the difference in the size of the two beans in the picture. Imagine how an industrial shelling machine can discern, then successfully remove different-sized shells of the cocoa bean. It cannot. The solution for the industry is to have the same-sized cocoa beans fed into the shelling machine. 
In contrast, by hand, we shell from the smallest to the largest. Every bean from the cacao pod goes into our chocolate bar. A full spectrum of taste awaits; the medicinal effects of: 'the food of the gods, -- as nature intended, is the reward.
The next step is melangering/conching to smoothen out the beans. We do this process in six or seven hours, while the industry does it in 72 hours. Of course, they do hundreds or thousands of pounds in a batch. 

Why is the Aftertaste of Chocolate not discussed in polite company?

by ConstantineDec 5, 2022

Light reflecting off the hot chocolate disks.There is a secret in the chocolate industry. When deciding which chocolate brands are responsive stewards of Nature's resources, you need to know their secret. For example, chocolate manufacturers oxidize cocoa beans for an insane three days.

What other foods do you know of that get this treatment? None.

Here's the secret: It's the shell casings. They need to erase the resultant bitterness because shells are still inside.

Removing the shell casings from the cocoa bean is an inexact less-than-ideal vacuuming method. It's extraordinarily wasteful. Our experience showed vacuuming sucked out shells, dirt, dried pulp, and cocoa particles. One-third or 4 oz of each pound goes into the landfill.

Our method is painstakingly deliberate, with no environmental waste other than the shell casings, which makes for an engaging, bitter tea. We hand-shell, removing 100% of the cocoa shells. In so doing, we can quickly identify rancid beans when performing this task. We are alert to unsuitable odors and identify and discard beans that critters may have previously inhabited. The only thing that goes in the garbage is the shells.
Try to recognize the unidentifiable aftertaste next time you have a chocolate bar. It's the shells.

Chocolate Aromas and Taste Development

by Constantine  jan 2nd, 2020

What remains an ongoing, simmering battle in the chocolate industry: the roasting of the cocoa beans. So what's better: computerized roasters or hands-on roasting on an open fire? 
Machine vs. human. An ongoing question of which method is superior to the outcome.

Flavor formation and character in cocoa and chocolate.
Let's look at academic research on the science of roasting. 
Chocolate characters not only originate in flavor precursors present in cocoa beans but are generated during post-harvest treatments and transformed into desirable odor notes in the manufacturing processes. In addition, complex biochemical modifications of bean constituents are further altered by thermal reactions in roasting and conching and in alkalization [reducing acidity, which is good for ridding your body of free radicals*].
However, the extent to which the inherent bean constituents from the cocoa genotype, environmental factors, post-harvest treatment, and processing technologies influence chocolate flavor formation and relationships with final flavor quality has not been clear. (in other words: not settled science.)

Sensory properties of chocolate and their development
According to the NIH: "Sensory attributes of eating chocolate are determined by processing variables and inherent characteristics of the cocoa bean. Flavor precursors develop during fermentation and primarily interact at roasting temperatures. Complex browning reactions occur during roasting. Numerous heterocyclic flavor compounds produced then contribute to the characteristic chocolate flavor. The feel of chocolate in the mouth (mouth feel) and the unique properties of cocoa butter determine textural properties. Careful processing and selection of ingredients are necessary to produce desirable attributes.'

[When science and poor-quality cocoa beans meet, the outcome is not in the consumer's favor.]
"The different treatments were evaluated by chemical analysis (hydrolysis efficiency) and sensory analysis of the treated material compared to good-quality cocoa almonds [beans]. The results show that it is possible, through the use of microbial enzymes**, to generate the mixture of compounds that will release, after roasting, the characteristic chocolate flavor in poor-quality almonds [beans]."

* Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. Oxidative stress occurs naturally and plays a role in the aging process.
** Microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, and fungi and their enzymes are widely used in several food preparations to improve taste and texture. They offer substantial economic benefits to industries.

Chocolate taste and aromas in roasting play an integral part in the process of making chocolate products. However, reliance on a computer's program does not take into account: the age of the beans, moisture content, the humidity of the environment of the facility, outside temperature, and moisture.

In my next story, we'll explore the Mallard effect in roasting and how it influences the outcome.