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  1. Opening the pods.

    Do not wait more than 4 days to open the pods.
    Open the pods by hitting them with a thick piece of wood.
    Take the beans out of the pods and put them in baskets.
    Then carry them to the place where they are to ferment.
    Do not leave the broken husks on the field.
    They can be used to make compost.

  2. Why cocoa beans are fermented.

    We have seen that the cocoa bean consists of a seed coat, a kernel and a germ.
    Cocoa beans are fermented so as to destroy the seed coat, kill the germ and give the cocoa a good taste.

    Cocoa bean cut in two

  3. How to ferment the beans.

    Often cocoa growers ferment the beans in heaps. They chose a flat and dry spot, cover it with banana leaves, make a heap of cocoa beans and cover the heap with banana leaves.
    The beans ferment well if the heap is stirred from time to time.

    It is much better to ferment the beans in boxes.

    Use boxes with holes in the bottom.
    Place these boxes on supports, for instance stones.
    The juice runs off at the bottom of the boxes through the holes.
    After two days, take the beans out of the box, stir them around well and put them into another box.
    To make this work easier, you can stack the boxes one on top of the other.

    Never leave the beans in the same box for more than two days.
    Fermentation takes 6 to 10 days.
    The beans are purple at the beginning, and turn reddish when they are fermented.

    Good fermentation box

Drying cocoa beans

  1. When the beans are well fermented, they must be dried.
    Cocoa beans may be dried in the sun.
    Spread the beans on boards raised 1 metre above ground level.
    The layer of beans should not be very thick; not more than 4 centimetres.
    Stir the beans often and protect them from rain.

    To protect from rain, you can make a little shelter and slide the boards under the shelter every night and when it rains:
    This is called a sliding tray drier.

    Drying cocoa beans takes five to ten days.

  2. In forest regions where the climate is very moist, cocoa beans do not dry at all well.
    Badly dried beans are of poor quality.
    You get less money for them.

    In such regions several growers can get together and build a modern drier.
    Spread the beans on a concrete slab set well above floor level.
    Light a fire underneath, or allow hot air to pass through drums to heat the concrete slab.
    Then the cocoa beans will dry better.
    In this way one man alone can take care of drying the harvest of several growers.
    He should not let the fire get too hot, to prevent the beans from becoming smoky.
    He should stir them often so that they do not burn.

  3. When the cocoa is quite dry, the beans are sorted.

    Remove all the:

    Keep only good beans.
    Put these good beans into sacks.
    Keep the sacks in a dry place well protected against animals.

    Finally sell your sacks of cocoa.
    Good-quality cocoa is cocoa which has been:

Sliding tray drier

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