First of all, the seed is planted in our nursery and grown for 3 months. In that period we treat it with care and give it as much healthy organic matter as possible. Once these three months are up, we graft on a branch from one of our chosen ‘mother trees’. This is to combine the new plant with the genes from the ‘mother tree’. We want trees to be as high yielding as possible without sacrificing the flavour profiles, this technique gets these results (most of the time anyway!)
After 6 months the cocoa makes the trip to the farms. Either it is delivered to our loyal farmers or we plant it on our own land. It is vital that the cacao plant is given 50% shade in the early years. We often plant our cacao alongside banana which provides that necessary shade and also offer a source of income whilst the cocoa is still young.
Cocoa trees take 5-7 years to reach full maturity, however from the third year they will start bearing pods. Harvest time is a labour intensive job that needs extra care and a team that is experienced. The reason being that it is vital that when picking the cacao, one does not damage the flower cushion. Cacao trees will have flower cushions scattered around the tree and each season the cacao will bear from the same point. Therefore if that point is damaged, the fruit will not grow.
Once the pods are picked, the beans are taken out of the pods. This next stage is the most important part of the supply chain, because this is where the colour and flavour of the beans is created.
The beans are surrounded by mucilage which is a sugary coating. We lay the beans out to dry in the sun for half a day and then the beans go into a box that can take 1MT. The process of fermentation then begins.
The first 48 hours is the anaerobic phase during which the yeast and the pulp surrounding the beans are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The beans are then shifted 3 times into different boxes to ensure that the temperature is evenly spread throughout. This process can take up to 10 days, however it all depends upon the variety of the bean.
The fermented beans then take the short trip down to the state of the art solar dryer. There they are spread around to get the moisture level to around 6%.
The beans are roasted in our factory in Kingstown. We roast the beans up to temperatures of 120 degrees.
Whilst adding nibs and sugar into the grinder, it is slowly turned into liquor. The machine grinds and folds the liquid chocolate for a full three days. We aim for our chocolate to be packed full of flavour and smooth
After the Tempering stage where the shine and snap of the bar is created, we then hand wrap every single bar to make sure it reaches perfection.