2. Fermentation and Drying
The pods are put into boxes or thrown on heaps and covered. Around the beans is a layer of pulp that starts to heat up and ferment. This process takes away the bitter taste and develops the typical chocolate flavour. The result is a fully developed bean with a rich brown colour, a sign that the cocoa is now ready for drying. With favourable weather the drying process usually takes several days. During this period, beans lose all their moisture and more than half their weight. Farmers turn the beans from time to time and pick out the flat and broken beans. Dried beans from an average pod weigh less than two ounces, and approximately 400 beans are required to make one pound of chocolate The beans are now prepared for shipping in 130 to 200 pound sacks.