Eaton’s Filtration Solution and Chocolate

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Chocolate. The chances are, like millions of others across the globe, you love it. But do you know where it comes from or how it’s made? Can you tell your cacao beans from your cocoa?

People have enjoyed chocolate since ancient South Americans first starting drinking it over 3000 years ago. And today, an incredible 7.2 million tons of chocolate is consumed every year worldwide.

Yet despite its status as the king of sweet snacks, most people know surprisingly little about it. Now it’s time to reveal the secret of this blissful brown treat - and a multi-billion dollar industry.

How is chocolate made?
It all starts with cacao beans. These are the essence of chocolate and grow in the pods of tropical cacao trees. After harvesting, the beans are fermented and dried to ripen their flavor before the chocolate-making process really begins.     

Stage 1: Roasting & Shelling
First, the dried cacao beans are cleaned, weighed, and sorted by type. They’re then roasted in large ovens at up to 290F to darken their color and tease out the aromatic flavors of the cacao. After roasting, the shells are discarded from around the bean, leaving only the cocoa nib within.

These are edible and quite chocolaty at this stage, but very bitter.

Stage 2: Grinding
The cocoa nibs are then ground into a paste called chocolate liquor. Despite the name, this contains absolutely no alcohol! This pure, unrefined form of chocolate contains both cocoa solids (the chocolaty part) and cocoa butter (the bean’s natural fat). Some of the chocolate liquor is crushed to squeeze out the cocoa butter, which will be used in making the chocolate.

Chocolate liquor is pretty bitter by itself, so manufacturers add other ingredients at this stage to sweeten the mixture and improve the texture, such as sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla and milk. This might taste good if you eat it now, but it wouldn’t feel like proper chocolate on your tongue.

So what else do we have to do to make real chocolate?!


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Stage 3: Conching
The cacao and the sugar are still grainy, so to refine the texture and draw out the flavor the mixture is processed in a chocolate making machine called a “conch” that swirls and aerates the chocolate.

The conching process can take a few hours or as much as a few days, and has a huge impact on the delicate flavor notes of the chocolate. Deciding exactly how long to conch for is the art of the master chocolatier.

Stage 4: Tempering & Filtering
After conching, the chocolate is cooled and warmed repeatedly until it reaches the correct temperature and consistency, mixing the ingredients evenly. This is what gives chocolate its crisp ‘click’ when you snap a piece off.

Filtering the chocolate now is crucial to drive out contaminants that might compromise health and safety standards, and to give it a high-quality, glossy finish. The better the filtration system, the better the chocolate will look and taste. That’s why manufacturers want super-efficient, low maintenance filters, like those provided by Eaton.

Compared with typical vibrating gravity screen systems, Eaton’s Mechanically Cleaning filters help make chocolate that’s safer and better quality for consumers. Totally enclosed, they block out contaminants from the air, as well as filtering out the tiniest particles of even 15 microns. And manufacturers benefit too, with virtually zero maintenance needed and a stronger steadier flow, meaning less labor costs and product wastage.

Stage 5: Molding & Packaging
After the chocolate is properly tempered and filtered, it’s ready for other ingredients to be added, such as almonds, or fruit. Then the final, delicious chocolaty mixture is poured into molds to form the shape of the bar.

Once the bars are cool and solid, they are wrapped, labeled, packed in cases and stacked on pallets ready to be shipped and eaten by chocoholics everywhere!

Feeling hungry?