Sourcing the cocoa beans

Bean to bar chocolate is nothing without the very best tasting cacao beans, and therefore committing to source the highest quality — directly from farmers.

Buying from Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru- I know exactly where they grow the beans and who they’ve been grown by. Every farm has unique flavour profiles; it changes depending on the climate, soil, topography, harvest, fermentation and drying methods.

 

 

roasting 

I roast in micro-batches; one kilogram at a time. As a small company it’s more affordable for me in a standard-sized convection oven, which allows me to control and evenly roast every batch.

Each bean variety requires different roasting profiles in order to find the best flavour and aroma. As the beans slowly roast, the nibs lose moisture, which creates steam and loosens them from the husks.

 

Cracking & winnowing

Once the roasted beans have cooled down, the husks loosens themselves off the nibs.

To separate the husks and nibs, the beans pass through a cracking machine. This machine cracks the cocoa beans into smaller pieces and has a function that sucks the lighter husk away from the nib as they fall and separate into a different bowl.

Grinding & Conching

The grinding machine, known as a melanger, consists of two wheels spinning on top of a stone base. The wheels spin and the particle sizes reduce; friction heats the cocoa butter and turns into a liquor.

After 12 hours of grinding the cocoa butter and sugar the liquor becomes fluid. It is at this point that the conche takes place which fine tunes the chocolate process. Crucially, this enhances the taste and the viscosity of the chocolate.

 

tempering

Sharp snap. Beautiful shine. This is why tempering is important. If chocolate isn’t tempered properly, the sugar will bloom on the surface. It will also look dull and crumble when you snap.

Tempering chocolate is playing with temperatures; firstly, i heat the chocolate to melt the different types of cocoa butter crystals. It then cools to form the wanted cocoa butter crystals, which makes the bar shiny and give it a great sounding, sharp snap. Afterwards, I raise the temperature to help those crystals spread evenly through the chocolate.

moulding

The signature Loctoa chocolate bar transforms the tradition of chocolate into a modern, sensory experience. I've researched and tested different designs, shapes and thicknesses to get the best result that suits the signature Loctoa Chocolate taste.