I'm on a journey to explore the world of American craft chocolate

The Life and Times of CHOCOLATE, Part 2

If you missed it, check out Part 1, How Chocolate Is Born

Unroasted cocoa beans taste nothing like chocolate. I know, it’s weird. I guess if you squint your eyes and really pretend, you can kind of taste what will turn into chocolate.

The process of creating chocolate from raw cocoa beans is long and complicated, which is why Ecole Chocolat and I have partnered to put together a four-part series about where the heck chocolate comes from called "The Life and Times of Chocolate." Last month we cartoonized how chocolate is born, and this month we’re tackling how cocoa beans become chocolate. We hope to tell the story as simply as possible, and while we may not capture all of the nuances of the bean-to-bar process, we hope people remember the image.

So without further ado, here it is! First our little cocoa beans get toasted brown and chocolatey in the roaster. Then the beans are cracked and their outer shell winnowed away, getting naked for all the world to see (in an SFW kind of way). The part of the bean that's left is called the nibs. After that it's a trip to the grinder with sugar and sometimes extra cocoa butter for sweetness and flavor. Then the chocolate is tempered, a process that uses temperature and motion to make sure the chocolate hardens shiny and stable. And last but not least, the chocolate is molded into bars! (Thanks to Fernanda Frick for the awesome illustration.) Stay tuned for Part 3 next month!

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