Our cacao

Simply the best Ritter Sport ever

The world of cacao

The world of cacao

Find out how we make the best chocolate

OUR 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.

OUR PLEDGE

We promise to make high quality, delicious chocolate for everybody to enjoy.

The colourful taste of cacao

The colourful taste of cacao

No two cacao beans are the same

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.

Nicaragua

strong
cacao
nutty

Peru

fine
fruity
spicy

Ghana

mild
balanced
gently cacao taste

What kind of cacao is in your 
favourite chocolate?

What kind of cacao is in your 
favourite chocolate?

It’s all in the cacao bean.

This bar contains cacao from Peru

These bars contain cacao from Ghana

How does cacao grow?

How does cacao grow?

Cacao trees provide the most important ingredient needed for 
chocolate: the cacao beans.

CACAO TREE

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.

CACAO POD

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.

CACAO BEANS

Inside the cacao pods are a large number of cacao beans. The cacao beans are the most important ingredient for our chocolate.

Pulp

The pulp is the white flesh of the cacao pod, surrounding the cacao beans.

Our cacao goals

Our cacao goals

We obtain our cacao through the best possible route

PERSONAL
PARTNERSHIPS

IN HARMONY WITH HUMANKIND

AND NATURE

Follow us on our journey:        
Did you know?

Did you know?

1 cacao pod =

1 bar of RITTER SPORT
Milk Chocolate
A cacao tree bears around 20–30 pods a year, or up to 50 in a good year.
Cacao pods grow around 15 to 30 centimetres long and 300 to 700g in weight. Their colour ranges from greenish to yellow or a reddish-purple.
Your favourite chocolate in 10 steps

Your favourite chocolate in 10 steps

From the cacao bean to the delicious square chocolate
1

Cacao tree

Cacao tree

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.

2

Harvesting

Harvesting

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.

3

Fermentation

Fermentation

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.

4

Drying

Drying

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.

5

Transport and cleaning

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.

6

Roasting

Roasting

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.

7

Shelling, cracking and grinding

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.

8

Mixing, pressing and refining

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.

9

Conching and tempering

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.

10

Packaging

Packaging

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

Cocoa is global

We purchase cacao from various countries.

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.

EL CACAO

One of the world‘s biggest cacao plantation

Our “El Cacao” plantation in Nicaragua:

350 staff
1 million cacao trees
2,500 ha
We care about our cacao

We care about our cacao

Quality and transparency is important for our chocolate.
UTZ - Better farming Better Future
fairtrade cacao program

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