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Dreaming of chocolate: Part II

Fermentation takes anywhere from 3-7 days depending on the amount of penetration of acid into the cotyledon you desire. During the first 24 hours, peak yeast population is obtained and during this process most of the sweet coating drips off and leaves through slits in the bottom of the fermentation chamber. Part of the process at APARMASH includes the collection of this jugo (juice) for later addition to the fermentation to reboot the last two days of biological activity. Juice continues to drip for the second day but during this stage of anaerobic fermentation the product becomes acidic and is not collected. Once the heat in the chamber gets to between 45-50 degrees Celsius, bacteria takes over and converts the alcohol into acid. At this stage the beans are aerated and agitated to introduce oxygen into the heap. In order to ensure even fermentation the bacteria needs oxygen to do its work. The two phases can be summed up as per below.

  • Phase 1 (anaerobic): sugar + yeast –> alcohol + carbon dioxide + heat

  • Phase 2 (aerobic): alcohol + bacteria + oxygen –> acid + water + heat

For further information on the chemicals produced during and after the fermentation, visit the link below.

Great description from an Australian project currently not working in cacao.

The cacao is then turned and aerated for another 2-3 days and on the fifth day, the juice collected on day one is reintroduced into the ferment to reboot the fermentation.