Thing #5: How Chocolate Is Made

I couldn’t think of anything to write my blog post about, and I like chocolate.  Also, no one seems to know what it’s actually made of or how it’s made.  So, we are going to find out!

Let’s face it: if you don’t love chocolate, you are missing something very important in your life.  So important, I would say, that it’s worth understanding how it’s made.

Step 1: Get cacao beans

The famous cacao (pronounced “ka-KOW”) beans from which chocolate is made are grown in the Theobroma cacao tree.  This tree, although native to only Central and South America, can be found all throughout the tropics.  Why?  The chocolate industry!

Cacao trees form pod-shaped fruits that hang off their branches and contain a white pulp that covers around 40 seeds.  Workers harvest the pods, remove the seeds, and let them ferment for several days (the time will vary depending on the quality of the chocolate).  After this process, they have begun to lose some of their bitter flavor.

Step 2: Roast the beans

After being weighed and sorted, the beans must be baked at 210-290˚F for around two hours in enormous ovens.  This serves to dry the beans, as well as bring out even more flavor.  After this, they crack the beans’ shells to leave just the inner parts behind (this is what will become the chocolate).


Step 3: Chocolate liquor

Following this, the inner beans (called “nibs”) are crushed into a paste called chocolate liquor.  This liquor, in order to create a chocolate bar, must be combined with all the ingredients that block the remaining bitterness–sugar, milk, vanilla, and cocoa butter.  These additions also improve the texture of the chocolate liquor, so it’s more creamy.


Step 4: Refine the chocolate

The mixture is then put through a series of steel rollers, as well as a process called “conching”, in order to make it even smoother.  Conching is the process of stirring, crushing, aerating, and smashing the liquor.  After this, more cocoa butter and soy lecithin can be added, which should help the chocolate reach its final texture.

To end the process, the chocolate mixture is stirred, cooled, reheated, stirred, and so on until the appropriate “shiny” look has appeared.  Then it’s just a matter of letting the mixture harden in a mold.

Now that everyone is sufficiently craving chocolate…

Here’s something to help you see the optical illusion.

I hope you enjoyed!