Simply the best Ritter Sport ever
The world of cacao
It's fair to say that we're real chocolate enthusiasts. After all, we've been making chocolate for a very long time. We work with people locally, who know everything about cacao and who share our passion for cacao and chocolate.
We promise to make high quality, delicious chocolate for everybody to enjoy.
The colourful taste of cacao
Specific geographical factors, such as climate, soil conditions and processes, gives our chocolate different tastes.
Cacao is divided into three different varieties: Criollo - tastes fruity and not very bitter, Forastero - tastes slightly bitter and has very high yields, and Trinitario - tastes fruity and less bitter.
gently cacao taste
How does cacao grow?
When the flowers of the cacao tree are pollinated, cacao pods grow. It takes 4–6 years for a cacao tree to bear its first harvest. Trees grow up to 15 metres high, although those in plantations are supported at a height of 4 to 8 metres.
The cacao pods hang straight from the trunk of the cacao tree and are hand-picked. A cacao tree produces 20–30 pods a year, or up to 50 pods in a good year.
Inside the cacao pods are a large number of cacao beans. The cacao beans are the most important ingredient for our chocolate.
The pulp is the white flesh of the cacao pod, surrounding the cacao beans.
Our cacao goals
IN HARMONY WITH HUMANKIND
Did you know?
1 bar of RITTER SPORT
Your favourite chocolate in 10 steps
KakaobCacao trees mainly grow in Africa, Asia and Southern/Central America. Depending on the species, the cacao tree may start to flower when it is between 18 months and 3 years old. After the flowers of the cacao tree have been pollinated, it takes about 5 to 6 months for the pollinated flowers to become ripe cacao pods. Every year, a cacao tree bears around 20 to 30 fruit, and in a good year up to 50.
When harvested, the cacao pods are about 15 to 30 centimetres in length and 300 to 700g in weight. Their colour ranges from greenish to yellow or a reddish-purple. It is extremely important to know the right time to harvest the pods, and this takes a lot of experience and knowledge. The pods are individually hand-picked straight from the cacao tree.
It is only when the cacao seeds are fermented that the precursors of the aroma form, which will later give the cacao its typical taste. First, the sugar in the fruit’s flesh is broken down with yeast. This creates alcohol. The pulp liquefies and separates from the cacao seeds.
After fermentation, the cacao beans have a very high moisture content. To reduce this to 5–7%, they are dried. From time to time they are turned over, as it is crucial for the cacao beans’ quality and storage that they are dried evenly and gently.
Transport and cleaning
After fermentation and drying, the cacao beans are ready for transportation. Packed into jute or sisal sacks, they are taken in trucks to the ports, where they set off on the ocean voyage from the equatorial countries where they are grown to us in Waldenbuch, Germany. When the cacao beans arrive in Germany, they are often full not only of dust and sand, but also large pieces of foreign matter such as stones, wood or jute fibres. These impurities must be removed fully before processing.
Having been carefully cleaned, the cacao beans are roasted in machines, on metal grates or in large rotating drums using hot air. At temperatures between 130 and 150°C, the typical aroma of cacao and roasting develops, and the cacao beans turn a dark brown.
Shelling, cracking and grinding
After roasting, the cacao beans need to cool down, and their shells are cracked and removed. A roller crushes the cacao beans into tiny pieces. A strong airflow and several sieving and shaking steps remove the lighter parts of the shells and any remaining impurities from the crushed cacao beans. When the beans have been broken into pieces, known as “nibs”, these are conveyed to the preparatory and fine milling stages, where they are ground and milled even more finely.
Mixing, pressing and refining
When the ingredients – milk powder, sugar and the cacao liquor – have been mixed, the mixture this produces moves on to the pressing and refining stages.
Conching and tempering
Conching gets its name from the conche, a shell-shaped vessel in which the chocolate powder produced by refining is firmly kneaded, mixed, aerated and finally liquefied. Depending on the type of chocolate, this finishing process can last up to 24 hours. During tempering, the chocolate is stirred continuously and gradually cooled down in the tempering machine in steps, following a pre-set temperature curve, from 45°C to about 28°C. Now the chocolate mass is ready to be poured into a mould.
For all our varieties, we use environmentally friendly single-material polypropylene flow wrapping. This can be recycled and is the ideal way to protect the product and its aroma, as it is almost fully resistant to light or smells. Every day, roughly 2.7 million 100g squares come off the packaging machines at RITTER SPORT.
Cocoa is global
From Central and Southern America and Africa to Waldenbuch, and from there to wherever you are in the world. We let you know where our cacao comes from. In 2018 we became the first big manufacturer of chocolate bars to use 100% certified sustainable cacao.