The sugary white pulp surrounding the cocoa beans starts the organoleptic development of the cocoa beans and is the key to a good chocolate. Thanks to the PACTS programme, this crucial stage in terms of organoleptic quality of the cocoa is now carried out in the fermentation centres by trained teams.
The PACTS centres are all equipped with a three-tier wooden case system in which are placed the premium cocoa beans; they are then covered with banana leaves. This tier system ensures optimal fermentation conditions and regular mixing of the beans ensures optimal development of the cocoa aromas.
Drying and bagging: the final process
Once the beans have fermented, they are dried to reduce their level of humidity from 60% to 8 or 9% and ensure their preservation. For this particular stage, the PACTS programme has created special dryers. Made from local materials on which are dried the beans, the driers are above ground level and protect the beans from any bad weather conditions.
The drying process lasts approximately 10 days, during which the cocoa beans turn to their characteristic brown colour. Once dried, the cocoa beans are rigorously checked and then bagged for their long transcontinental voyage.