Text for: How Cocoa Butter is Made
Nestled high in the Andes of Ecuador is the facility that dries and processes the cacao beans into semi-finished products such as cocoa butter and cocoa nibs.
Before we enter the cleanroom, we have some housekeeping items to take care of.
First, we need to put on sanitary cleanroom clothes and little paper booties and—we also have to scrub our hands. With that done, let’s go in—
These are the last few drops of cocoa butter being extracted from this batch.
The operator is going to remove the dry cakes of cocoa power which is produced when the cocoa butter has been pressed out of the cocoa paste.
If you have ever wondered where cocoa powder comes from, it comes from this process where dry cakes of cocoa powder are produced. These hard cakes of dry cocoa powder will be pulverized and sifted next, then they will be sold as a high-grade cocoa powder.
Next, the operator loads six layers of warm cocoa paste which was just ground in a different process.
The cocoa paste is wrapped into several layers of cotton fabric then tied.
Because of the need for dexterity while working with the cocoa butter press, combined with the high risk for the gloves tearing and exposing microorganisms that build in the most environment in the gloves—some processes have been HCAAP certified for non-glove use and frequent hand washing. Hands must be washed before starting production, after going to the bathroom, before and after eating food, after coughing or sneezing, when touching a contaminated surface and changing activities.
The operator activates the hydraulic piston making room for the next layer.
Normally, during regular production, this process is automated.
After loading the last layer of liquid cocoa paste, the hydraulic press presses the cocoa paste and the organic cocoa butter is extracted.
While there is only one pressing of the cocoa paste, the initial darker color of the extracted cocoa butter is saved and set aside for the lighter extraction that follows.
And, that’s the process.