Known as part of the chocolate-making process, cocoa nibs come from the beans derived from the Theobroma cocoa tree. They are nothing else but cocoa beans that have been dried, fermented, and then cracked and separated from their husk.
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From beans to nibs – Harvesting, drying and fermentation…
After harvesting, cocoa beans are not as sweet as chocolate, so to allow them to develop the chocolatey flavor we all love, they are gently mixed and left to rest for a few days (fermentation period). Fermentation can last up to 7 days in which the white pulp surrounding the cocoa beans is turned into alcohol by the yeasts in the air. Drying reduces the high level of moisture cocoa beans have after fermentation.
…roasting and winnowing
During roasting, cocoa beans break down and their shell becomes brittle so it can be easily removed (winnowing). Since the nibs are heavier than the husk, winnowing is usually done by blowing air through the beans to get rid of the shell. Nearly 30% of the weight of the cocoa beans is actually lost in the winnowing process. This step is crucial because if there is any shell residue left, it can give an unwanted flavor to the chocolate product.
Cocoa nibs making equipment - From bean to bar
Whether it’s compound chocolate, chocolate bonbons, or chocolate bars, in a bean-to-bar process you start the chocolate-making process from scratch. First, you need to roast and dry your beans. Pay attention to the roasting process; it’s when you roast that the flavors of the chocolate develop. After cracking and winnowing the cocoa beans, you need to refine cocoa nibs to turn them into chocolate.