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.
Friends don't let friends shoot in portrait, but I was alone in the jungle so the video above happened. This is Euler reintroducing the jugo to fifth day beans. This process is novel to APARMASH and maybe two of three other co-operatives. The process also imparts a final sweetness to the beans that is good for consuming them raw but is mostly lost during roasting.
The beans then move to the drying area. We're yet to build drying structures so the drying either happens under the roof of our drying structure or out in the sun on black plastic tarps. First the wheelbarrow comes out and trusty bucket scoop to move the beans to their next phase.
While the beans are still wet from the fermentation juices, they are left for up to four hours before turning to allow them to settle and dry the coat at a faster rate. During the second day, when the stickiness has gone, the beans are raked almost hourly. This will continue for the next four to five days until the seed has a moisture content of 6-7%.
Once this has happened we get the beans ready for their last process. Sorting and bagging.