Mode of Transport
Uses of Cocoa
Primary Use of Cocoa
Changes in cocoa production
Implications of shortage
Strategy to reduce cost and/or assure supply
Cocoa beans are seeds of the cacao tree, which is a member of the Sterculiaceae family. Contained in a cucumber like fruit; these yellowish, reddish to brownish fruits are divided into five compartments each containing up to 10 seeds (Service). As the fruit begins to ripen, the partitions break down and the seeds are found around the central funicle in a whitish pulp. The cocoa seed (i.e. bean) consists of the seed coat which contains the cocoa kernel. The cocoa kernel is the principal component for the production of cocoa products. There are about 20 known varieties of the Cacao plant, but only two are commonly used in producing cocoa products (Canizaro). The two varieties commonly used are: * High Grade or Criollo Cocoa; which are large, roundish and brown in color. They have a delicately bitter, aromatic flavor and are easily processed. * Common Grade or Forastero Cocoa; which are small, flattened on the side and have a dark reddish-brown to violet color. They have a sharper flavor and account for nearly 90% of the world’s cocoa harvest. The main areas of cultivation of the cacao tree falls within a narrow belt 10° north and south of the equator because the trees grow well in humid tropical climates with consistent rainfall and a short dry season (Cadbury). Cocoa trees need an even temperature between 21 to 23 degrees centigrade, with a rainfall of 1,000 to 2,500 mm per year to produce cocoa seeds. The main producers of cocoa are: * West Africa Region—Ghana, Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire. * South America Region—Brazil and Ecuador.
* Asia—Malaysia and Indonesia.
Cocoa trees begin to bear fruit when they are around 3-4 years old. Each tree will yield 20-30 pods per year, each pod containing 20-40 seeds which when dried are the cocoa beans of commerce. The harvesting of the cocoa pod is very labor intensive; workers cut the high pods from the trees with large knives attached to poles. The pods are then split open by hand and seeds (i.e. beans) are removed ready to undergo a two part curing process. The two part process includes fermentation of the bean and then they go under a drying process. Methods of fermentation can vary from country to country, but usually only two methods are used; the Heap method or the Box Method. Here is a diagram using either method to illustrate:
The Heap Method is traditionally used on farms in West Africa. Wet cocoa beans, including the pulp, are piled on banana or plantain leaves which have been spread out in a circle on the ground. More leaves are the piled on top to cover the heap and it is left for five to six days, turning the pile to ensure fermentation (Cadbury). During this fermentation process the pulp and astringency of the beans are removed as the sugar in the pulp turns to alcohol, which drains away causing the bean to develop its true chocolate flavor. When fermentation is complete the wet mass of beans is dried usually by being spread out on mats under the sun. Box Method
In the West Indies, Latin America and in Malaysia the box method is used on plantations. It involves the use of strong wooden boxes with drainage holes or gaps in the slats in the base of the box. This enables the passage of air and the removal of liquid products of fermentation. This process usually takes six to eight days during which the beans are mixed twice. After fermentation is complete the beans are dried by means of special drying equipment. Quality
The quality of cocoa is based by the quality of the raw cocoa. Fully ripened cocoa beans that have properly...
Cited: Cadbury. Cocoa and Chocolate. 2012. 26 October 2012 <http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treesandmarkets/inaforesta/documents/cocoa%20and%20chocolate/cocoa%20and%20chocolate.pdf>.
Canizaro, Mark. All About Chocolate. 2002. 26 October 2012 <http://www.xocoatl.org/variety.htm>.
Service, Transport Information. Cocoa Beans. 2012. 26 10 2012 <http://www.tis-gdv.de/tis_e/ware/genuss/kakao/kakao.htm>.
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