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Cocoa pods are manually opened with a long knife to extract the seeds and pulp. A single pod contains 40 to 50 cocoa seeds. The seeds are then left for fermentation for about 5 days, covered with banana tree leaves. The duration of the fermentation process depends on the cocoa bean type: the Forastero type requires approx. 5 days while the Criollo type needs 2 to 3 days to ferment. This natural process makes all remains of the fruit pulp disappear completely and the seeds (beans) change their colour from grey to brown.


After fermentation beans are sun dried for approx. 6 days to reduce the moisture content from 60% to 7.5%, with a simultaneous loss of more than half of their weight. Once the drying process is complete, farmers bring their harvest to collection points where it is inspected for quality, weighted and packed in jute bags. The last stage involves loading the beans into containers in which they reach the shores of Europe, America and Asia by sea.

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