Cocoa powder, familiar to all of us since childhood, is made from crushed and partially fat-free cocoa beans. Cocoa beans are obtained from the fruits of the chocolate tree. So called the evergreen tree Theobroma cacao, which grows in rainforests. Now it is cultivated around the world. The largest cocoa producing countries are Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Brazil, Ecuador and Cameroon.
The flowers and fruits of the cocoa tree appear on the trunk and thick branches. The tree begins to bear fruit at 4-5 years of its life and bears fruit over the next 20-25 years. The egg-shaped cocoa fruit. In length, it is from 15 to 30 cm, the diameter of the fetus is 8-10 cm, and the weight reaches half a kilogram. The flesh of the cocoa fruit is sweet and sour. In some countries, it is used to make alcoholic beverages. However, it is not she who is used for the production of cocoa powder, but almond-shaped seeds, which are located in close horizontal rows inside the fruit. These seeds, called cocoa beans, are rich in tannins and theobromine. In raw form, they have neither a characteristic taste nor the smell of chocolate.
All cultivated cocoa species are divided into three main groups. Criollo trees are considered the best, rarest, and therefore the most expensive. They are less productive than other cocoa trees, and are more susceptible to various diseases. Nowadays, criollo comes from Venezuela, Mexico and Honduras. From cocoa powder of this type of beans, expensive varieties of high-quality chocolate are produced. The most common and productive group of cocoa trees is the Amazonian Forastero. It accounts for 85% of the global production of cocoa beans. Such trees grow either in the mountains or on the plains. The latter are the most common. They are grown in Brazil and in West Africa. The quality of forastero cocoa beans is considered the lowest. The only variety from this group that has a higher quality is called nacional.
And, finally, the so-called trinitario belong to the third group of cocoa trees. This is a hybrid of criollo and forastero. It combines the high palatability of the first grade with resistance to disease and the fertility of the second. Cocoa powder from these beans is used to make expensive varieties of chocolate.
By quality, experts divide cocoa into two main types: aromatic (thin, special or sweet) and mass. The first category includes criollo, trinitario and nacional, which belongs to the forastero group and is grown in Ecuador. And the second category includes all other varieties of forastero, from which the usual cocoa powder is made.
The process for the production of cocoa powder from cocoa beans consists of several main stages: cleaning and sorting cocoa beans, roasting them, obtaining grains and separating the shell, grinding the grains, pressing / separating cocoa butter, cooling the cake, coarse crushing, cooling, fine crushing and sifting, packaging and packaging.
Grated cocoa is a semi-finished product that is used to make chocolate and cocoa powder itself. In the latter case, the grated beans are sent to pressing either without pretreatment or with pretreatment with alkalis. In the latter case, alkali of potash, bicarbonate, or ammonium carbonate is used in an amount of 2-3% of the weight of grated cocoa. Depending on whether the raw materials undergo additional processing, cocoa powder is divided into two types: treated with alkali (or alkalized) and unprocessed with alkali.
While the mass is under the press, its temperature is maintained at 90-95 degrees Celsius. The same temperature is the oil that flows from the press, and the temperature of the cocoa cake - blocks of the squeezed mass is 70-80 degrees. As in the preparation of sunflower oil, cocoa cake is unloaded from the press in the form of tight circles with a diameter of 40-50 cm, a thickness of 5-6 cm and a weight of about 10 kg.
Cake has a bitter taste and has a brownish color. Due to the high temperature, the residual cocoa butter, which is in the cake, is liquid. Therefore, after being removed from the press, the cake is sent to a special chamber with a lower temperature (more preferable option) or laid out on tables in the pressing room. In the latter case, the squeezed mass cools slowly, over several hours, as a result of which it may acquire an unattractive muddy gray tint.
Then the cooled cake is sent to the crusher, where it goes through the first grinding stage. After the crusher, the cake is no longer a solid disk, but a heterogeneous mass of large pressed pieces. Since in the crusher the temperature of this mass rises again to 30 degrees, after it it once again cools to 8-10 degrees. The prepared mass passes the second, final grinding stage in the disintegrator. The crushed powder falls into the borate, sheathed with a thin metal sieve. After sifting, the powder is sent for packaging and packaging, and the particles that remain on the sieve are returned to the disintegrator for re-grinding.
So, to open our own production of cocoa powder, you will need a line for the production and packaging of cocoa, as well as the area for its installation and warehouses. In rooms for grinding and sifting cocoa powder, an air temperature of 8-10 degrees is maintained, for which an additional system of artificial cooling will be needed. And the relative humidity in the workshop should be no more than 65%.
There are two types of ready-made cocoa powder - production (its fat content is up to 14%) and marketable (the content of cocoa butter in it should not be less than 16-17%). According to experts, the market capacity of packaged cocoa powder is much less than raw. This product is sold through retail chains and individual retail stores. In addition, it is purchased by medical hospitals, military units, educational institutions. The profitability of the packaging production of cocoa powder, which has virtually no seasonal drops, is estimated at about 45%.
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