Monday, 28 April 2014

The Chocolate Challenge - Roasting

Dear readers,

The first stage of my home chocolate production (after sourcing already-fermented beans) is roasting.

At La Iguana Chocolate, they roast their cacao beans in a pot over a fire and stir constantly for 10 to 20 minutes until they hear the beans "pop". I asked Jorge (the eldest son of the family) how I should roast the beans at home. I asked if I should use a frying pan and wait for the "pop" and he replied...

"yes, do add a little of water just to wet the bean no make a sopa OK, good luck".

Following Jorge's advice, I added a splash of water to the beans in the frying pan and turned the heat up high, stirring constantly. Once I started to hear the loud "pops", I turned the heat off and continued stirring the beans until the popping stopped (one has to be careful; they can move when they pop so it might be an idea to use a splash guard). The aroma that came from the beans was extraordinary! The whole house smelt of brownies. I went out and came back a few hours later and the whole house still smelt of brownies; it was incredible! I definitely recommend roasting a few cocoa beans before a house viewing instead of baking bread. I'm sure it will be much more effective!

Slightly-wet beans before heating

Beans during the "roasting"

I recently attended the Food And Drink Expo in Birmingham and met Willie Harcout-Cooze from Willie's Cacao. I spoke to him about roasting and he said that I should not do it in a frying pan because the beans should not be exposed to direct heat. He recommended that I roast them in an oven on a baking tray with some baking paper. However, at this point I had already roasted most of my beans using Jorge's method. I will definitely try roasting the beans in the oven next time!


  1. I would have been in chocolate heaven smelling the divine aroma from the cocoa beans. I'm sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for the next installment

  2. pretty nice blog, following :)

  3. Your kitchen must be smelling good while you were roasting these beans :D

  4. I'm very envious of the aroma. I love the idea of being able to hear the beans pop. I've never associated a sound with chocolate before (other than the tearing of the packet to get at it).

  5. Such a wonderful post. Thanks for the share. It was very interesting and informative.
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