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First Bean to Bar

Posted about 3 years ago

This is a rewrite of the original for the new CMS - so I might forget or miss bits.

Here's the evidence of my first go at bean to bar chocolate production. Although the finished items were gritty, and the flavours harsh, it still tasted of chocolate, and going through the processes and ending up with something in that ballpark was really cool.

These are made with pre-roasted beans from Duffy's, and ground with normal caster sugar in a £13 blade coffee grinder (has to be blade, if you used a proper coffee burr grinder it'd clog and be horrible), and if I remember correctly, it was a 66% dark.

The Basics

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Magic beans...

Starting with the basics here - the cocoa beans. They're about twice the size of a coffee bean.

Nibs

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Just a nib-ble

Winnowed and weighed. Honestly, this was the painful bit - there's no real small-batch way of winnowing cocoa beans (getting the nibs out of the shell), so I cracked each by hand. It's a bit like a harder version of a monkey nut.

In the Grinder

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It's not mud, honest

After a bit of grinding. Grind the sugar first until you get it the consistency of icing sugar, then add the cocoa nibs and grind that baby until the motor conks out. Then wait for it cool. Then grind it some more.

Probably don't try that too much.

After More Grinding

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A natural consistency

Nothing's really changed from the previous shot to this one other than a shit-load more grinding.

Honestly, it'll get to this stage with enough time rubbing against itself, as that's kind of the point, the large crystals in the sugar and the particles of cocoa will begin to rub and blend and smooth with time being knocked together.

As I couldn't really kill the grinder that much more, these only had about 30-45 minutes of grinding time. Artisan producers will grind it for 30-45 hours.

Finished

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It looks like chocolate

After 2 hours work, these 5 orbs were the result.

As I said before, they were gritty and the flavours were harsh, but they tasted of chocolate and for a first attempt, I was really happy.

by Steve Farnworth

Steve Farnworth is a petrolhead, coffee drinker, amateur chocolatier, web developer and digital marketer from England, UK.

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