Bean to Bar
Until the late 1950s, there were hundreds of small chocolatiers around Europe who produced their own chocolate directly from the cocoa bean. A few began to industrialize production and by the end of the 20th century most of the small players had disappeared and about 50 large companies controlled the chocolate market.
In the early 2000s, a new craft wave in chocolate production began to take shape in the United States, and during the financial crisis of 2008-2011, this wave picked up steam when many entrepreneurs were forced to change direction and then saw the opportunities in the chocolate industry, which for the past decade have been in the hands of big business.
The Bean to Bar movement was born where great emphasis is placed on social responsibility and controlling the entire production chain under one roof. The focus has also shifted from mass production to putting the bean and its unique flavor first (similar to the grape in the wine industry).
1. Find suitable beans - the cocoa bean comes from a fruit that grows on a tree found around the equator. We take home small test batches around 250-1000g that we test with our lab equipment before we decide to take home larger batches for production. The beans arrive at the factory in 25-60kg sacks.
2. Roasting - we hand-sort the best beans for roasting. Finding a good roasting profile for each bean is important to achieve the desired result.
3. Peeling - we crush and peel the beans with a special machine called a Winnower. At the top of the machine, the beans are crushed, after which a fan blows away the lighter husks into a collection vessel. The heavier cocoa pieces (cocoa nibs) fall out of the machine into a vessel for further production. We use the peels in the collection container to make our chocolate tea.
4. Grinder - now it is important to reduce the particle size of the chocolate so that it tastes good. We do this first in our mill, which reduces the size to under 100 microns. The cocoa bean consists of approx. 50% fiber and 50% butter so at this stage the mass goes from solid to liquid form.
5. Stone grinding - our stone grinder consists of two large granite wheels that roll on a granite slab and over time grind the mass down further. Here the mass is reduced to below 30 microns. This takes 24-72 hours depending on the nature of the bean. We also add raw sugar and possibly a little extra cocoa butter if our recipe calls for it.
6. Conching - a process where the chocolate is aerated and mixed vigorously, partly to remove unwanted aromas but also to bring out new flavors hidden in the chocolate's inner DNA. Depending on the time in our conch, we can create different flavors with the same chocolate.
7. Tempering - in order for the chocolate not to separate and bloom (turn gray and dull) it must be tempered. This is done by raising/lowering/raising the temperature. From our tempering machine, we dispense the chocolate into cookie molds, which are then hand-packaged with both inner and outer packaging.