Cocoa beans are roasted similarly to coffee beans. Many people assume that a coffee roaster can double as a cocoa bean roaster. However, due to the fact that cocoa beans are more fragile and require lower roasting temperatures, a typical coffee roaster is not suitable. Coffee bean roaster modifications should include indirect heat and internal drum changes. Why roast cocoa beans? There are many reasons, including:
- Develop the unique flavor notes of origin cacao
- Reduce the moisture content of the bean, making the nib more suitable for chocolate production
- Destroy bacteria
On a large scale, gas heating makes the most sense for cocoa bean roasting. For the Cacao Cucina® equipment scale of 100 – 1,000 pounds of finished chocolate per week, we have chosen electrical heating for ease of installation and excellent temperature control. We have taken an existing rotary convection oven and modified it by adding a stainless steel perforated screen basket, bean temperature probe (measures the ACTUAL bean temperature) and sample port.
Measuring the actual bean temperature and sampling beans during the roasting process for taste are critical. Within the same bean origin, the bean moisture and fat level can vary from lot to lot. Simply reproducing roast time and temperature may not give consistent roast results. The operator needs to taste the beans as they roast to insure optimal flavor development.
The Cacao Cucina® roaster is delivered on a stainless steel stand with casters. We include a bean cooling cart with air system to cool the beans when removed from the roaster to avoid over roasting. The cooling cart is work height and on casters. The cooled, roasted cocoa beans can be wheeled to the winnower for the next step in the process.
We also provide a 13” x 20” stationary #3 mesh stainless screen and frame on 6” legs for sifting and sorting beans prior to roasting.
Video: RO-15 Cocoa Bean Roaster
Is cleaning and sorting raw cocoa beans necessary? Depending on origin and post-harvest handling practices, raw cocoa beans may contain extraneous matter including stones, sticks, feathers, glass, and other debris. Even beans that have been handled meticulously may include some beans that are shriveled, moldy, or deformed. Removing extraneous matter and poor quality beans before roasting not only helps to insure your finished chocolate will be of the best quality, it can also help to avoid damage of downstream process equipment.
When you purchase an RO-15 Cacao Cucina® Roaster, you will get the complete package. A bean cleaning/sorting screen, a roaster that has been designed for cocoa beans with the ability to control roast temperature and sample beans during the roast process, and a cooling cart with blower to cool the beans once they are discharged.