Good Agricultural Practices
How the get the best quality out of your produce
Breaking the Cocoa Pods
Breaking the cocoa-pod is a very delicate process. Therefore, it should be done appropriately to avoid damaging the beans. After having collected a sufficient amount of cocoa pods, it is preferable; you break them open with a stick and then proceed to extract the beans. To preserve the quality, it should be done immediately or simply wait up to two days so as to prevent them from being attacked.
The fermentation of fresh beans should be done accordingly and, in adherence to recommended standards. It is advisable to carry out Fermentation using plantain or banana leafs or in fermentation chambers (boxes) according to the recommended practices in the producing region. Fresh beans are then put into boxes or on plantain leaves and « turned inside out » daily. This stirring exercise is very important, as it ensures a uniform heating of beans, allows air to get into the fermented portions, breaks the eventual lumps and avoids the formation of dankness on the beans. If the beans are not « turned inside out » they will not ferment correctly and proceed to become moldy thereby emitting bad odour. Moreover, in producing areas where fermentation of beans is done in piles, frequently stirring the beans should be avoided as it might stimulate the growth of acetobacters (an action that converts the alcohol to acetic acid). This provokes an excess of acid that stops the development of cocoa flavours. Fermentation usually lasts between five to seven days.