Bibliography / Web References – Manufacturing

Here are some links that aided in my research about the chocolate manufacturing process.

Grenada Chocolate Tour – Organic Dark Chocolate

At The Factory From Bean To Bar

How To Make Chocolate

Chocolate Necessities

The Production Of Chocolate

Preparation of Chocolate

Chocolate, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Packaging and Labelling

The last stage of the commercial manufacturing process is packaging and labelling, whether by machine or by hand in smaller artisan operations.  Things sure have come a long way since Lucy and Ethel tried their hand at wrapping chocolates on the assembly line!










This video takes chocolate right up to the packaging and labelling stage – ready for distribution.


And finally, just for fun, have you ever wondered how Hershey’s chocolate is made?  This video takes it from the harvest stage right up to the packaging stage.  Every kid’s dream!


Tempered, moulded chocolate candies

After tempering, additives may be added to the melted chocolate, which is poured into heated moulds.  The cocoa liquor is allowed to cool and harden into different shapes.  This can be done on a large-scale production line or by hand in a small-scale operation.  It is referred to as melting and casting.

Moulds are usually made of metal, and are part of an automated production line or stand-alone pieces that can be used by hand.  Many newer moulds are made of silicon, which releases the finished chocolate candies with no fuss.  Silicon moulds wear out more quickly than metal, but some candymakers (especially home confectioners) consider them to be worth the extra cost.

Watch commercial chocolates being moulded here:


Actually, as an aside, an alternative way of shaping chocolate (without tempering) has been discovered at Cambridge University – cold extrusion.   Solid chocolate is pressed in a die to create flexible straws.

Wonky chocolate


The Chocovision Revolation 3Z (Rev 3Z) Temperer 30 lb. Commercial Chocolate Tempering Machine

Tempering cools the chocolate to particular temperatures to produce shiny, smooth bars.

It does this by creating the desired crystalline structure in solid chocolate.  Crystal formation is a very complex procedure, and it differs depending on the type of chocolate being tempered.

In a nutshell, cocoa butter, the fat in chocolate, can crystallize in several ways, but only beta crystals harden into firm, shiny chocolate that breaks with a snap.  These are the characteristics of chocolate that professional chefs and bakers strive to produce.  When you buy commercial chocolate, it is in the form of beta crystals.

When you melt chocolate and get it above 94° F, you melt these much desired beta crystals, and other types of crystals can set up.  If you simply let melted chocolate cool, it will set up in a dull, soft, splotchy, disgusting-looking form.  Even the taste is different.  Fine chocolate has a snap when you break it and a totally different mouthfeel from the other cocoa butter forms.

The process of melting and then cooling the melted chocolate so that it will form beta crystals is called tempering. Tempering is necessary only for real chocolate which contains cocoa butter (not coating chocolate).  Basically, chopped or grated chocolate is added to the same type of melted chocolate, to slowly cool it to the desired temperature.  It is stirred the entire time.  For dark chocolate, ideally you want to end up with a temperature of 89°  to 91° F (87°  to 89° F for milk or white chocolate).  If you have kept the chocolate below 92° F during all of this, it is still tempered and ready for use.

The above information was provided by renowned American food scientist and chef Shirley Corriher, in the following article about proper tempering of chocolate.  There are also links to articles about chocolate chemistry in general.  She really knows her stiff, and it’s a very informative read.

You may also wish to check out Shirley’s acclaimed books:

And, in case you’re game to try tempering at home, here is a great how-to video for dark chocolate courtesy of Brad Kintzer, a chocolate maker/product developer at Scharffen Berger.

Here are some other instructive websites with great photos:

Untempered (left) vs. tempered (right)

Accompanying article and recipe for chocolate-dipped strawberries with mint whipped cream:

And, to finish off, here are some beautiful examples of professionally-tempered chocolate products.  Let your imagination be your guide.

Tempered Chocolate Tulip Cup

Tempered Dark Chocolate Bar – notice the beautiful shine!


Cocoa powder is made from the hard disk of powder that is left after pressing, which expels about half the excess cocoa butter from cocoa beans, which are about 50% fat.  The disk is grated into a fine powder containing 20-22% fat.  Now you can understand why most low-fat chocolate recipes call for cocoa powder.

Dutch processed cocoa powder is natural cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkalizing agent such as baking soda or potassium carbonate.  This alteration of PH levels reduces the acidity of the cocoa, rendering its chocolate flavour more mild and less bitter.  Dutched cocoa is also more reddish in colour compared to natural cocoa, which is more brown.  Dutched cocoa is also less lumpy and more soluble than natural cocoa.

Some artisan companies in the United States don’t Dutch-process their cocoa as they claim their cocoa beans don’t need to be acid-neutralized.  Most supermarket brands of cocoa powder in America, such as Hershey’s and Nestlé, are natural cocoa powders.

Dutched cocoa is said to be high in antioxidants.  Wikipedia says:

Compared to other processes, Dutch process chocolate contains lower amounts of flavonols (antioxidants).[4] The effect this has on health is disputed. Professor Dr. Irmgard Bitsch of the Institut für Ernährungswissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen claims that the reduction of antioxidants due to the process is not significant and enough polyphenols and procyanids remain in the cocoa.[5] One study determined that 60% of natural cocoa’s original antioxidants were destroyed by even light dutching, and 90% were destroyed by heavy dutching.[6]However, natural cocoa has such high levels of antioxidants that even a 60% reduction leaves it high on the list of antioxidant-rich foods.

Refining and Conching

Conching further smooths the mixture.  After the mixing process, the blend is further refined to the desired fineness.

Long intense mixing action gives the chocolate a well-developed, delicious flavour and texture.

High-quality chocolate is conched for about 72 hours, and lesser grades for approximately 4 – 6 hours.  As a rule, the longer chocolate is conched, the smoother it will be.  The process may last for a few hours to three full days, or even longer.

The conched chocolate is drained from the machine and stored in insulated, temperature-controlled holding tanks at 45–50 degrees Fahrenheit.

300 Litre Mobile Chocolate Tank

450 Litre Mobile Chocolate Tank

1000 Litre Chocolate Tank


Grinding/pressing is the process by which cocoa nibs are ground into cocoa mass, or cocoa liquor.

The heat generated by the grinding process melts the fat contained in the nibs, and turns it into a liquid – the cocoa liquor.

The cocoa liquor is then mixed with cocoa butter and sugar.

The solid particles in the sugar and cocoa solids are ground smaller and smaller.  As the grinding progresses, more and more fat is released from the cocoa.

Cocoa Liquor