How we make chocolate

Our Complete Chocolate Making System

Cacao Cucina® offers a complete chocolate making system, designed for reliable production operation and compliance with GMP and FDA guidelines for commercial food production. All equipment is manufactured and tested in the United States, at our facility in Largo, Florida. We offer a full-service, bean to bar chocolate kitchen to demonstrate the chocolate making process on Cacao Cucina® equipment. If you’re a chocolatier looking to make the jump into bean to bar chocolate making, or a cacao grower interested in adding value-added processes at origin, or simply interested in starting your own small batch chocolate making operation, we’ll gladly walk you through the process in person!

The Complete Chocolate Making System Steps

Roasting – RO-15 Cocoa Bean Roaster

We roast our cocoa beans in a specially designed convection-style oven, to deliver an even roast. As the roast nears completion, we’ll sample the beans to make sure we’ve reached a desirable flavor, before ending the roast cycle. Our roaster features a sample port for in-process bean sampling, as well as a digital readout of the bean bed temperature. Upon completion of the roast cycle, the beans are discharged into a stainless steel bean cart with built-in cooling system. Once the beans have been cooled, they are ready to winnow. The bean cart and cooling system are included with our RO-15 Cocoa Bean Roaster.

Winnowing – Winn-15, Winn-45 and Winn-150 Cocoa Bean Winnowers

“Winnowing” refers to the separation of the cocoa nib (the center of the cocoa bean, and the key ingredient for chocolate) from the fibrous outer husk. Our winnower gently breaks the roasted beans, sending both nib and shell onto a set of vibrating screens, where the shells are removed by vacuum. We offer three different sizes of winnowing machine, capable of supporting an array of chocolate making operations, from 15kg up to 150 kg of product per hour. Our winnowing machines are currently in operation at some of the top bean to bar companies worldwide. A clean, efficient winnowing machine, such as the Winn-15, Winn-45 or Winn-150 allows the chocolate maker to spend less time winnowing and more time growing the business in other critical areas.

Grinding – Nib Grinder

Before refining, we pre-grind the cocoa nibs into a fluid liquor to reduce the overall milling time. We use a specially designed hammer style mill for this step of the process. The grinding hammers and screens receive a specialized case-hardening procedure to prevent galling and wear. During our three-stage grinding process, the cacao nibs and eventually, cocoa liquor, passes through a series of increasingly finer screen sizes, yielding a smooth, fluid cocoa mass, which is easily poured into our CM refiner for the next stage. The Nib Grinder helps to reduce the overall milling time of the chocolate so that the chocolate maker can fit more batches into the weekly production schedule.

Refining – CM-10 and CM-25 Chocolate Makers

We refine the chocolate in a stirred ball mill, to achieve a rich, smooth texture. During refining, the particle size of the cocoa mass decreases as it’s blended with the other ingredients. Our mill features hard chrome grinding media, which if need be, can be removed from the vessel for complete cleaning and sanitation. Another unique feature of our mill is the product recirculation and airflow system. As the center screw moves product from the bottom to the top of the mill vessel, product surface area is continually exposed to the temperature controlled air flow, to aid in removing the volatile compounds left over from cacao fermentation, and in turn, driving off the harsh “off” flavors from the product. Once the chocolate reaches the desired particle size (typically just under 20 microns), it is then discharged from the CM and ready for the next stages, sifting and tempering. The vacuum discharge system is included with the CM chocolate maker and features a magnet trap, vacuum pump and Bain Marie pot with vacuum lid.

PLC Control Panel

We offer a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) touch screen control panel with the Chocolate Maker. This controller is standard on the CM-25 and available as an upgrade on the CM-10. With the PLC upgrade, the user has all the normal control functions of the standard panel (vessel temperature, air temperature, agitator speed), the PLC offers enhanced features such as the ability to set a timer on the agitator operation and specify a specific vessel temperature setting for when the agitator stops, as well as the capability to store and recall “recipes” or a specific set of controller settings. Additionally, a data collection upgrade is available for the PLC control panel.

Sifting – Chocolate Sifter

In between the refining and tempering stages of our chocolate making process, we sift the chocolate to enhance the smoothness of the finished product by removing any unrefined particles such as the germ stem of the cocoa bean. Features of our Chocolate Sifter include a variable frequency vibrator base, and a stainless steel, food grade mesh screen deck.

Tempering – TM-10 and TM-25 Tempering Units

Our batch tempering unit is the final step in the chocolate making process, before the finished chocolate is ready to mold, cool and package. The Tempering Machine (“TM”) features a self-contained chiller for efficiently cooling the product. The heavy duty build of the TM makes it ideal for handling a bean to bar chocolate that may be more viscous than the commercial couverture products that the typical continuous-style tempering machine is designed to run. Additionally, our TM temperature features a removable agitator blade, for quick, easy access to the inside of the vessel for cleaning, in the event of a product changeover or routine maintenance.

If you have any questions about our equipment or our chocolate making process, please feel free to contact us or call 1-815-676-5006.