Page-Origins and History of Chocolate
Origins and History of Chocolate


The cacao tree is native to the Amazon Basin. It was domesticated by the Olmecs and Mocayas (Mexico and Central America). More than 4,000 years ago, it was consumed by pre-Columbian cultures along the Yucatán, including the Mayans, and as far back as Olmeca civilization in spiritual ceremonies. It also grows in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, in Colombia and Venezuela. Wild cacao still grows there. Its range may have been larger in the past; evidence of its wild range may be obscured by cultivation of the tree in these areas since long before the Spanish arrived. New chemical analysis of residue extracted from pottery excavated at an archaeological site at Puerto Escondido, in Honduras, indicates that cocoa products were first consumed there sometime between 1500 and 1400 BC. Evidence also indicates that, long before the flavor of the cacao seed (or bean) became popular, the sweet pulp of the chocolate fruit, used in making a fermented (5% alcohol) beverage, first drew attention to the plant in the Americas. The cocoa bean was a common currency throughout Mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest.


Cacao trees grow in a limited geographical zone, of about 20° to the north and south of the Equator. Nearly 70% of the world crop today is grown in West Africa. The cacao plant was first given its botanical name by Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus in his original classification of the plant kingdom, where he called it Theobroma ("food of the gods") cacao.

Cocoa was an important commodity in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. A Spanish soldier who was part of the conquest of Mexico by Hernán Cortés tells that when Moctezuma II, emperor of the Aztecs, dined, he took no other beverage than chocolate, served in a golden goblet. Flavored with vanilla or other spices, his chocolate was whipped into a froth that dissolved in the mouth. No fewer than 60 portions each day reportedly may have been consumed by Moctezuma II, and 2,000 more by the nobles of his court.

Chocolate was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards, and became a popular beverage by the mid-17th century. Spaniards also introduced the cacao tree into the West Indies and the Philippines. It was also introduced into the rest of Asia and into West Africa by Europeans. In the Gold Coast, modern Ghana, cacao was introduced by a Ghanaian, Tetteh Quarshie.


Cultivation, consumption, and cultural use of cacao were extensive in Mesoamerica where the cacao tree is native. When pollinated, the seed of the cacao tree eventually forms a kind of sheath, or ear, 20" long, hanging from the tree trunk itself. Within the sheath are 30 to 40 brownish-red almond-shaped beans embedded in a sweet viscous pulp. While the beans themselves are bitter due to the alkaloids within them, the sweet pulp may have been the first element consumed by humans.


Cacao pods themselves can range in a wide range of colors, from pale yellow to bright green, all the way to dark purple or crimson. The skin can also vary greatly - some are sculpted with craters or warts, while others are completely smooth. This wide range in type of pods is unique to cacaos in that their color and texture does not necessarily determine the ripeness or taste of the beans inside.

Evidence suggests that it may have been fermented and served as an alcoholic beverage as early as 1400 BC.

Cultivation of the Cacao was not an easy process. Part of the reason was that was due to the fact that, Cacao trees in their natural environment grew up to 60 or more feet tall. When the trees were grown in a plantation however, they grew to around 20 feet tall.

While researchers do not agree which Mesoamerican culture first domesticated the cacao tree, the use of the fermented bean in a drink seems to have arisen in North America (Mesoamerica—Central America and Mexico). Scientists have been able to confirm its presence in vessels around the world by evaluating the "chemical footprint" detectable in the microsamples of contents that remain. Ceramic vessel with residues from the preparation of chocolate beverages have been found at archaeological sites dating back to the Early Formative (1900–900 BC) period. For example, one such vessel found at an Olmec archaeological site on the Gulf Coast of Veracruz, Mexico dates chocolate's preparation by pre-Olmec peoples as early as 1750 BC. On the Pacific coast of Chiapas, Mexico, a Mokayanan archaeological site provides evidence of cacao beverages dating even earlier, to 1900 BC.



The three main varieties of cocoa plant are Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario. The first (FORASTERO) is the most widely used, comprising 80-90% of the world production of cocoa. Cocoa beans of the Criollo variety are rarer and considered a delicacy. Criollo plantations have lower yields than those of Forastero, and also tend to be less resistant to several diseases that attack the cocoa plant, hence very few countries still produce it. One of the largest producers of Criollo beans is Venezuela (Chuao and Porcelana). Trinitario (from Trinidad) is a hybrid between Criollo and Forastero varieties. It is considered to be of much higher quality than Forastero, has higher yields, and is more resistant to disease than Criollo.


A cocoa pod (fruit) has a rough, leathery rind about 2 to 3 cm (0.79 to 1.18 in) thick (this varies with the origin and variety of pod) filled with sweet, mucilaginous pulp (called baba de cacao in South America) with a lemonade-like taste enclosing 30 to 50 large seeds that are fairly soft and a pale lavender to dark brownish purple color.

During harvest, the pods are opened, the seeds are kept, and the empty pods are discarded. The seeds are placed where they can ferment. Due to heat buildup in the fermentation process, cacao beans lose most of the purplish hue and become mostly brown in color, with an adhered skin which includes the dried remains of the fruity pulp. This skin is released easily by winnowing after roasting. White seeds are found in some rare varieties, usually mixed with purples, and are considered of higher value.


Extracted from Wikipedia.



A conche is a surface scraping mixer and agitator that evenly distributes cocoa butter within chocolate, and may act as a "polisher" of the particles. It also promotes flavor development through frictional heat, release of volatiles and acids, and oxidation. There are numerous designs of conches. Food scientists are still studying precisely what happens during conching and why. The name arises from the shape of the vessels initially used which resembled conch shells.

When ingredients are mixed in this way, sometimes for up to 78 hours, chocolate can be produced with a mild, rich taste. Lower quality chocolate is conched for as little as six hours. Since the process is so important to the final texture and flavor of chocolate, manufacturers keep the details of their conching process proprietary.

Rodolphe Lindt invented the "conche" in Berne, Switzerland in 1879. It produced chocolate with superior aroma and melting characteristics compared to other processes used at that time. Legend has it that Lindt mistakenly left a mixer containing chocolate running overnight. Though he was initially distraught at the waste of energy and machine wear and tear, he quickly realized he had made a major breakthrough. Before conching was invented, solid chocolate was gritty and not very popular. Lindt's invention rapidly changed chocolate from being mainly a drink to being made into bars and other confections.

Lindt's original conche consisted of a granite roller and granite trough; such a configuration is now called a "long conche" and can take more than a day to process a tonne of chocolate. The ends of the trough were shaped to allow the chocolate to be thrown back over the roller at the end of each stroke, increasing the surface area exposed to air. A modern rotary conche can process 3 to 10 tonnes of chocolate in less than 12 hours. Modern conches have cooled jacketed vessels containing long mixer shafts with radial arms that press the chocolate against vessel sides. A single machine can carry out all the steps of grinding, mixing, and conching required for small batches of chocolate.


Conching redistributes the substances from the dry cocoa that create flavor into the fat phase. Air flowing through the conche removes some unwanted acetic, propionic, and butyric acids from the chocolate and reduces moisture. A small amount of moisture greatly increases viscosity of the finished chocolate so machinery is cleaned with cocoa butter instead of water. Some of the substances produced in roasting of cocoa beans are oxidized in the conche, mellowing the flavor of the product.

The temperature of the conche is controlled and varies for different types of chocolate. Generally higher temperature leads to a shorter required processing time. Temperature varies from around 49 °C (120 °F) for milk chocolate to up to 82 °C (180 °F) for dark chocolate. The elevated temperature leads to a partially caramelized flavor and in milk chocolate promotes the Maillard reaction.

The chocolate passes through three phases during conching. In the dry phase the material is in powdery form, and the mixing coats the particles with fat. Air movement through the conche removes some moisture and volatile substances, which may give an acidic note to the flavor. Moisture balance affects the flavor and texture of the finished product because, after the particles are coated with fat, moisture and volatile chemicals are less likely to escape.

In the pasty phase more of the particles are coated with the fats from the cocoa. The power required to turn the conche shafts increases at this step.

The final liquid phase allows minor adjustment to the viscosity of the finished product by addition of fats and emulsifiers, depending on the intended use of the chocolate.

While most conches are batch process machines, continuous flow conches separate the stages with weirs over which the product travels through separate parts of the machine. A continuous conche can reduce the conching time for milk chocolate to as little as four hours.

The Couching info above was extracted from Wikipedia.



Raw Cocoa Beans content

Polyphenols are what gives the bitter taste in the beans and I found out that they are heavier elements and that they can be removed by gravity. But Polyphenols are not all that bad, they contains Antioxcidants and other health benefice. (Find out more at this link) After taking it out of the Wet Grinder just let the hot chocolate sit for a couple of hours and the Polyphenols will go down to the bottom by themselves. Then if you want to remove them, you now know what to do.

AFTER ROASTING Raw Beans with their Shells, the Beans with their Shells combined lose around 2.36% to 3% of their total weight.

BEFORE Roasting The Shells Account For 10% to 12% of the weight of the Beans.

AFTER Roasting The Shells Account For around 13.92% of the weight of the Beans.

The rest in the Beans are cocoa NIBS and they account for the remaining 86.08%

In the Cocoa Beans 54% is FAT (Cocoa Butter) the rest 46% is Solid Cocoa.

(Here is a PDF on more Research done on Cocoa Beans from the Scholars Research Library)

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I wanted to know the Weight of the Shells compare to the Weight of the Beans to find out their percentage of each, so I took a bunch of Beans that I roasted them and then I weighted them and I had 237 grams. So then I peeled them all by hand carefully so as not to lose any shells and any Nibs either to find out what is their respective Weight.

Photo-1 Whole Beans Roasted PHOTO-1 WHOLE ROASTED BEANS= 237 grams.

Photo-2 Beans De-Shelled PHOTO-2 BEANS DE-SHELLED= 204 grams.

Photo-3 Shells PHOTO-3 SHELLS= 33 grams.

Photo-1 Whole Roasted Beans= 237 grams so that would Equal 100 %

Photo-2 Beans De-Shelled= 204 grams, so 204 X 100 and Divided by 237= 86.08 %

Photo-3 Shells= 33 grams, so 33 X 100 and Divided by 237= 13.92 %

If you ad up 86.08% + 13.92%= 100%

So the Shells account for 13.92 % of the total weight of the Beans AFTER Roasted. Those are Criollo Beans and I imagine that the margin would not be too big or different then this even if they where different type of Beans, and if it is different in weight, it would not be much more nor much less. So the Shells are nowhere near 20% of the weight of the Beans as some people pretend them to be.

So now I just did a batch that I had just passed in the Champion Juicer and then I extracted the Dust so as not to be in the way and I used my New Bonneauwing Board to removed the Shells and if I want to find out what is my loss while extracting the Shells this way I must have the total of Materiel before and after.

Materiel before removing the shells (Dust was Removed)= 761 grams.

After shells removed= 611 grams of Nibs left.

So 761 - 611= 150 grams.

So if I want to know my loss I have to figure the percentage of 150 grams compare to 761 that is already equal to 100.

150 X 100 divided by 761= 19.71 % of loss.

BUT NOW I KNOW that the Shells actually account for 13.92 % of the whole Beans, so I must subtract this 13.92 % of the 19.71 % I had above to find out my Real loss.

19.71 - 13.92= 5.79 % so this is my Real loss, and I lost that because some Nibs fell on the floor, because I am very tight in my working space and my tray was not big enough to catch them all, and I did not recuperate them, and If I did I would probably have closer to 0 % loss.


People that have Winnowing Machines tells me that they have only between 3-5 % loss of Nibs, that is their estimate they say. Well I say that they are deluding themselves and that their loss is probably around the 25 % mark. Show me your Numbers, and how you come up with your 3% to 5% Loss that does not make any sense since that the dust by itself accounts for 7.85% to start with if you don't force them trough the Champion Juicer. SEE BELOW ! ! ! ? ? ? Then you account for 20% of the weight of the shells when they actually only weight 14%. Further more, most Winnowing Machines that I saw at work spew out Shells with the Nibs and there is lots of small nibs with the shells they extract as well. So when they make a test I suppose that they weight the Materiel before and then they weight the Nibs extracted with the Winnowing Machine After, and the difference is 20-25% in weight they tell me. But the weight of the Nibs is not accurate if it's full of Shells. Remove those shells and weight the Nibs again to get the true weight of the Nibs extracted then substract that percentage of 14% for the Shells and NOT 20% and then you will be closer to the truth.

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I did this experiment with the same Type of Beans from the same supplier and the same amount 535 grams. The first time I forced the Beans trough and I got 69 grams of Dust, the second time I just let them go trough the Champion Juicer at their own pace and I got only 42 grams of Dust.

535 grams FORCED THEM TROUGH with the Plunger= 69 grams or 12.89% in Dust.

535 grams LET THEM TROUGH by themselves= 42 grams or 7.85 % in Dust.

Further more I passed whole Beans that had been de shelled by hands in the Champion Juicer just to find out how much dust only Nibs will create. I had 227 grams of whole beans de-shelled by hand and I ended up with 18 grams of dust. I did not forced them trough. That is a percentage of 7.93% of dust only with nibs and if I pass the same amount of beans with shells to find out the difference in dust percentage because whatever is more in percentage has to be shells since that the Nibs account for 7.93% of Dust.

WHOLE BEANS DE SHELLED 227 grams = 18 grams of Dust. a ratio of 7.93%

WHOLE BEANS WITH SHELLS 227 grams = 22 grams of Dust, a ratio of 9.69%

This means that if I subtract 9.69% - 7.93% this will give me the difference of the amount of Shell in the dust and it is= 1.76% is Shells more then Nibs so the dust is mostly composed of NIBS and Not of Shells.

So if 9.69 would be equal to 100% how much would be 7.93 equal to?

7.93 X 100 ÷ 9.69= 81.8369 or rounded up to 81.84 % and THAT is the percentage of NIBS in the dust you get and the rest is the percentage of SHELLS. 100-81.84= 18.16%

So in conclusion I can safely say with certitude that the dust coming out of the Champion Juicer without forcing the Beans trough is composed of.....

81.84% NIBS and 18.16% Shells. There you have it. And this means that Shells turn to dust 4% more then Nibs but the Dust content is still in majority Nibs at 82% and Shells only at 18% so it is much worth it to capture the dust and to find a way to separate the Shells from it.

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So the Dust is a PRIME LOSS if you don't capture it before you pass the Materiel in your Winnowing Machine. So now you come and tell me that you only have 3 to 5 % loss with your winnowing Machine, I say.........BULL SHIT, because for starter you loose at least 7.85% with the dust alone, and then there is the very small Nibs that get sucked out too.

Now what do I do with the dust I recuperate, I don't know yet but I will find a way to extract the shells form it, since that I think that the shells don't turn into very small dust all I would have to do is to use a smaller strainer and only keep the small dust and the rest would be shells and trow those out.