It all starts on the Equator with the cocoa bean...

Cocoa or cacao beans are the seeds from the cacao tree (theobroma cacao). The tree's fruit is called the cocoa pod, and it contains seeds (cocoa beans), which are surrounded by a white sticky pulp. The beans are carved out, and piled up. Then they are covered with black bags, where the sun heats them up and they are fermented. This takes about three days, and the white pulp dries up on the bean's shell and becomes brown.

From the beans to the nibs:

In our process, the cocoa beans are washed and dried. Thus, any dirt or impurities that stuck to the shell are washed away before the bean is cracked open. Once the beans are dried, they pass through a machine that crushes them open and they fall onto a vibrating table. Through vibration and gravity, the shell is separated from the nibs, a purely mechanical process (no chemicals involved!). Thus, sometimes you will find small pieces of shells  or impurities in the nibs.

And the nibs turn to mass:

Once the nibs are separated from the shell, they arrive at the pre-grinders, which are steel discs where they have to pass through. This will mill the nibs to a rough paste that feeds the ball mills. These machines are very large grinders that have steel metal balls that smash the paste against the walls making the cocoa particles very small so that it flows. Hence, this almost liquid paste is called cocoa liquor (coming from "liquid", no alcohol involved...sorry!).

Pressing out the butter and grinding the solids:

Once the cocoa liquor has reached its desired finesse passing through several vibrating sieves, the cocoa mass flows to the presses. Here, at very high pressure, the butter is pressed out and boxed, leaving a compact disc of cocoa solids. This disc is pulverized with heavy duty grinders, and the product that comes out is what we know as cocoa or cacao powder.

This is a brief summary of our production line, which aims to the minimal process of the original cocoa bean to maintain the true flavor that Nature intended for  us. Enjoy!