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The Grenada Chocolate Company Update


As you are aware, HBI support The Grenada Chocolate Company and we have been working with them as they expand the number of Organic Cocoa Farms in the Co-operative. Also we are now stocking and distributing the Retail Bars in Europe, and these are now available in Waitrose stores in a 71% and an 82% cocoa solids 80gram bar.

At this time of year the main crop of Grenadan Cocoa is being harvested. The ripe pods are cut from the trees and split open to reveal the beans which are in a mucus -  like sticky pith. The beans and pith are collected on the farms in buckets and taken to the fermentary and weighed, recorded and tipped into wooden bins, covered in banana leaves with sacking on the top. The fermentary is exclusively rented by the Co-operative and is situated high in the mountains in a Cocoa Plantation, and is, of course, Organically certified.

The Beans Covered in a sticky mucus pith

Fermentation starts almost immediately through the mass of beans, generating high temperatures. During the 5-6 day fermentation, the boxes are opened and the beans shovelled into the adjacent empty box this mixes the beans and ensures that fermentation takes place evenly. This stage is critical in developing the natural and unique Grenadan Chocolate Flavour.

The beans are then spread out in trays to dry naturally in the sun Pictures 932 & 934 you can see that these trays are on rollers so they can be rolled under cover in the event of a rain shower.

The beans are then spread out to dry naturally in the sun

The beans need turning to ensure even drying and this is usually done barefooted on the trays up and down to make sure they are all dry properly. During the main crop harvest, drying becomes a bottleneck and the final stages of drying at the Co-operative fermentary is done on tarpaulins. The beans are then put into 100lb sacks and stored. They are now stable and will be good for many months. Obviously as the Grenada Chocolate is all Organic, very strict records are kept so that a finished batch of chocolate can actually be traced back to the fermentation bin and so we can identify the farm(s) that these beans came from and also on what date they were harvested.

Drying and Storage of the Beans 

Since the factory started, The Grenada Chocolate Co had always roasted beans in a converted nut roaster, but this was small capacity and was a real bottleneck. So a couple of years ago they located a small Cocoa Roaster (which dates from the middle of the last century) and they paid a German cocoa machinery specialist to totally re-furbish this and convert it to Propane. Last year, as part of our support, HBI shipped over the Roaster, and Mott installed this and it is now up and running. Still early days, but the capacity issue has been solved and they are working to tweak the roasting parameters to optimise the best flavour profile. Already there is a huge improvement in that the beans are now roasted much more evenly and so the risk of overheating/burning is much less than previously, so this is a major step forward!.

The roaster and winower

After roasting, the shells have to be separated from the beans and this is done using an ancient Winnower of Spanish Origin. Very effective and efficient and the waste shells are used as fertiliser in the vegetable garden of the factory as well as by neighbours.

The nibs are then refined and conched before being turned into Grenada Organic Chocolate...   

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HB Ingredients
Cocoa House, 22 Bell Lane,Bellbrook Industrial Estate,
Uckfield East Sussex. TN22 1QL.
Tel:+44(0)845 88 00 799 Fax:+44(0)845 88 00 833