The journey from beans to bar

Cocoa beans come from cacao trees which grows best in humid climate with lots of rain. The pod grows directly from the trunk and can typically reach 4-12 inches. The pod ripens into different colours like red, yellow and purple.

Each pod contains about 20-60 beans, and is encased in a pulp which resembles soursop. Each tree takes about 3 years to start bearing fruits and each tree produces about 50-60 pods a year. That’s about 9 kilos of beans.


Cocoa pods are harvested twice a year from November to January and May to July. The fruits are hand-picked, and the pods cracked open to remove the seeds.


Fresh cocoa beans are then fermented. During this process, heat is produced naturally due to the fermentation. The farmers have to stir the beans frequently. That is also when the first cocoa flavours start to develop.


These beans are then laid out in the sun to dry before being sorted.


The chocolate makers then roast the beans to bring out the unique flavour of the variety. This process is critical as it determines the flavour of the end product.


Winnowing is the process of removing the shells off the beans, leaving what we call the ‘nib’.


The nibs are then conched with sugar. This forms what we call chocolate. This is also when the chocolatier determines the percentage of cocoa based on the amount of sugar added.

And there you have it – chocolate ready to be cast into your choice of mould!

DID YOU KNOW - Cocoa is the world’s third most traded agricultural product after coffee and sugar.

Cocoa futures have also soared to a fresh record high of $9,900 a ton this year! This is a result of poor harvest in top producing countries and climate change. While chocolatiers are trying to offset the higher costs, supply is not likely to make a quick recovery anytime soon. That means that your favourite bar of chocolate may now cost a little more.