Woman at Soklet's tree-to-bar cocoa plantation in Pollachi, India| Wasabini

Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Research

Sparked by our work with Kosak Chocolat in Paris, inspired by our discoveries about taste and quality factors while sourcing wines, and driven by our interest in whole processes, we embarked on a mission to develop an understanding of bean-to-bar chocolate.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED

Cultivating practices that produce the best beans.
Ethical and sustainable practices.
The effect of the fermentation, drying and storage processes on taste and quality.
The principles of the bean-to-bar concept.
The steps involved in transforming a raw cocoa bean into a chocolate bar.
Discovery and appreciation of the true characteristics of cocoa.
Commercialisation tactics.

PLANTATION VISIT
Soklet Chocolate, Pollachi, India

Soklet is India’s first tree-to-bar chocolate maker. They use permaculture techniques to grow cocoa beans on their plantations, and ferment and dry the beans on site. A portion of their production is sold to other bean-to-bar chocolate makers such as Mirzam. They transform the rest into chocolate in their family-owned factory.

  • Cocoa plantation visit.
  • Learned about permaculture techniques and ecosystems specific to cocoa plantations, composting techniques and bean genetics.
  • Learned about soil and climate conditions, crop yield, and production volumes.
  • Provided feedback on product quality, from taste and texture to ideas to perfect the product in the interest of promoting it in France.

PLANTATION AND OPERATIONS VISIT
Kokoa Kamili, Mbingo, Tanzania

Kokoa Kamili has perfected the fermenting and drying process of cacao beans. They buy ‘wet’ beans directly from local farmers, then ferment, dry and sort them, in Kokoa Kamili’s local operations. Their mastery of this key process improves both the quality and taste of the beans. Their techniques have increased the purchase and resale price of the beans, which improves the quality of life for their farmers, and enhances the reputation of cocoa beans from Tanzania.

  • Visited cocoa plantation and fermenting and drying facilities.
  • Learned about the history of cacao cultivation in Tanzania.
  • Learned about crop aeration and circulation.
  • Learned about the drying process.
  • Participated in rotating the beans during the fermentation process.
  • Learned how to sort beans for quality.

PRODUCTION FACILITY VISIT
Mason & Co, Auroville, India

Mason & Co. is an Indian bean-to-bar chocolate maker that sources their beans from Kerala. They produce especially tasty chocolate and well-balanced flavoured variations like Rosemary & Sea Salt and Black Sesame & Raisin. This chocolate maker is particularly skilled at choosing the raw ingredients that allow them to produce harmonious flavour combinations and innovative recipes.

  • Chocolate factory visit.
  • Learned about their roasting, cracking and winnowing, grinding and pressing processes.
  • Visited their laboratory to learn about their tempering moulding and wrapping techniques.
  • Participated in tasting and feedback.
  • Discussions about the French market.