Saturday, August 17, 2013

Taste of Raw Cacao from Aurora

Aurora Cacao , a set on Flickr.
Photos of cacao the origin is Aurora province.

My first try to taste raw cacao from Aurora province (recently hit by typhoon). Since yesterday I am so happy to get hold of my first cacao pods given to me by a good friend Ms. Mely and brought to the city by our IP friends then handed to me finally by Melvin.

It was my breakfast nibbling the slimy flesh or musilage from the beans, like eating marang or atis. And the taste resemble these 2 fruits but definitely it has its own unique cacao flavor.

I observed that one pod contain 39 beans and the other 42. I have yet to open the rugby size pod. I then put the 81 beans inside my makeshift fermentation box. For cover I used some rosemary leaves and then camote tops, those are the fresh leaves I find in the balcony. Monday will be the second day to replace and change and make a fresher cover. I will be following the process below by FAO. So it will take 6-10 days depending on the quality of fermentation perhaps 10 days then another 10 days to dry.

Did some online research on fermenting so I came across this links:

Cocoa fermentation - general aspects
by Smilja Lambert, Mars, Inc.

Publication of FAO

Text below came from FAO -
  1. How to ferment the beans.
    Often cocoa growers ferment the beans in heaps. They chose a flat and dry spot, cover it with banana leaves, make a heap of cocoa beans and cover the heap with banana leaves.
    The beans ferment well if the heap is stirred from time to time.
    It is much better to ferment the beans in boxes.
    Use boxes with holes in the bottom.
    Place these boxes on supports, for instance stones.
    The juice runs off at the bottom of the boxes through the holes.
    After two days, take the beans out of the box, stir them around well and put them into another box.
    To make this work easier, you can stack the boxes one on top of the other.
    Never leave the beans in the same box for more than two days.
    Fermentation takes 6 to 10 days.
    The beans are purple at the beginning, and turn reddish when they are fermented.
    Good fermentation box
Drying cocoa beans
  1. When the beans are well fermented, they must be dried.
    Cocoa beans may be dried in the sun.
    Spread the beans on boards raised 1 metre above ground level.
    The layer of beans should not be very thick; not more than 4 centimetres.
    Stir the beans often and protect them from rain.
    To protect from rain, you can make a little shelter and slide the boards under the shelter every night and when it rains:
    This is called a sliding tray drier.
    Drying cocoa beans takes five to ten days.
  2. In forest regions where the climate is very moist, cocoa beans do not dry at all well.
    Badly dried beans are of poor quality.
    You get less money for them.

    In such regions several growers can get together and build a modern drier.
    Spread the beans on a concrete slab set well above floor level.
    Light a fire underneath, or allow hot air to pass through drums to heat the concrete slab.
    Then the cocoa beans will dry better.
    In this way one man alone can take care of drying the harvest of several growers.
    He should not let the fire get too hot, to prevent the beans from becoming smoky.
    He should stir them often so that they do not burn.
  3. When the cocoa is quite dry, the beans are sorted.
    Remove all the:
    • flat beans
    • germinated beans
    • mouldy beans
    • broken beans.
    Keep only good beans.
    Put these good beans into sacks.
    Keep the sacks in a dry place well protected against animals.
    Finally sell your sacks of cocoa.
    Good-quality cocoa is cocoa which has been:
    • well harvested,
    • well fermented,
    • well dried.
Sliding tray drier
I saw this homemade chocolate from scratch on you tube so I hope I can follow the same process.  

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