Deshelling and breaking
Hard on the outside, tasty on the inside.
After roasting, the cocoa beans are left to cool down, then separated from their shells through breaking and deshelling. There are two methods for this:
Grooved rollers crush the cocoa beans into tiny pieces; the crushed kernels which result are known as nibs. A powerful stream of air and several sieving and vibratory stages separate the lighter shells and any remaining impurities from the cocoa nibs.
In the case of impact crushing, meanwhile, the cocoa beans are shot at high speed against steel plates so that the shell breaks open. The advantage of this is that all the cocoa beans are perfectly broken open, whatever their size, so there is a greater yield of nibs. Here, again, the pieces of shell are separated using a stream of air and several sieving stages.
The next processing step on the path to perfect chocolate is grinding the cocoa nibs.