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Drying cocoa beans process
Drying cocoa beans process

Cocoa beans are the seeds of the cacao tree, which is native to tropical regions of the Americas. Cocoa beans are the main raw material for making chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder. Cocoa beans have a high moisture content of about 60% when they are harvested from the pods. To reduce the risk of mold and spoilage, and to develop the flavor and aroma of chocolate, cocoa beans need to be dried properly.

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Cocoa beans drying process

Cocoa beans are usually dried after they are fermented for several days. Fermentation is a process that involves natural microorganisms and enzymes that break down the pulp surrounding the beans and initiate chemical reactions that produce the characteristic chocolate flavor. Fermentation also reduces the bitterness and acidity of the beans.

Drying is a process that involves exposing the fermented beans to heat and air to lower their moisture content to about 7%. Drying can be done using natural or artificial methods. Natural drying involves spreading the beans on mats or trays under direct sunlight or in a shaded area with good ventilation. Artificial drying involves using mechanical devices such as ovens, dryers, or heaters to provide controlled heat and airflow.

Drying time and temperature depend on various factors such as the climate, the size and quality of the beans, and the drying method used. Generally, natural drying takes longer than artificial drying, ranging from 5 to 15 days depending on the weather conditions. Artificial drying can be faster, taking from a few hours to a few days depending on the equipment used. The optimal drying temperature is between 40°C and 60°C, as higher temperatures can damage the beans and lower temperatures can prolong the drying process.
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