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Protocols for HCP Lab Liquor and Chocolate Preparation & Analysis
Processing of beans by the HCP has been standardized to ensure consistency for all submissions for Roasting, Liquor Milling, Chocolate Making, and Analyses of Liquor and Chocolate. Bean type information from the Applicant is essential to avoid delays in this protocol.
A. ROASTING, CRACKING, AND WINNOWING
High efficiency convection ovens are required: Binder laboratory convection oven Model 111G-06-01 (800 gm full load of beans) or FD 23-UL (200 gm full load of beans), ThermoScientific LabLine Imperial series laboratory convection oven, or equivalent.Ovens are loaded with a single, wide mesh screen tray. Beans are loaded single bean depth across the loading area. (Filler beans will be used as necessary to ensure the same loading for all roasts.)Roasting Conditions
Specific roasting conditions for the beans are designed to maximize the flavor potential for each type of cocoa bean. Conditions are consistent with the Cocoa of Excellence roasting conditions used by CIRAD and Mars and international project evaluation conditions across a wide range of clones, geographical locations, and bean types:
In most cases, beans will follow the Trinitario protocol, as most beans will fall into the fruity/floral category. Modern Criollo types will primarily be roasted at Trinitario conditions as they are generally much closer genetically and processing wise to traditional Trinitario beans. Ancient Criollos are distinguished from the needs of the Modern Criollos (i.e., Criollo leaning Trinitarios) by the requirement for much lower temperatures to best express the nutty/caramel notes. The Forastero protocol is specified to bring out the maximum chocolate intensity in this type of sample. While referred to as “bulk” or “base” beans, the Forastero contribution to the chocolate flavor profile is critical and we encourage the work of the Cocoa of Excellence program, which awards this category of bean.
If necessary, based on the Lab raw bean tests and information available from the Applicant, the HCP Lab and Tasting Panel Chair may discuss the sample beans and what they know of them before roasting the quantity needed for liquor and chocolate evaluation. Then, if necessary, the Lab and Chair may elect to do a quick, small pilot roast of 30-50g to make liquor for the Lab and Panel Chair to taste if need be to determine the proper roasting conditions.
Bean type information from the Applicant is essential to avoid delays in this protocol. If necessary, in Applications in which the bean type is not provided or is unknown, the HCP Lab will consult with an HCP Tasting Panel member with access to a lab who will receive a 150g sample of the beans for cut test evaluation and roast recommendation. If that cut test is not sufficient in the judgments of the HCP Lab, the HCP will allocate an additional 175g of beans and do small scale roasting and liquor milling on 50g samples at all recommended roasting conditions in this protocol to determine the proper roasting condition based on flavor of the samples. The HCP Lab will then use the selected condition to produce the liquor for liquor and chocolate evaluations by the Panel.
Amounts needed are based on supplying liquor to the HCP Tasting Panel for liquor flavor evaluation and the USDA for analytical flavor profiling, returning a sample to the Applicant, retaining a sample by the HCP Lab, and providing sufficient nibs and therefore liquor for the preparation of the chocolate samples.
Following roasting, beans are cracked and winnowed. Cracking can be accomplished in any suitable device (e.g., Limprimita breaker by Capco Test Equipment, UK) or by hand. Following cracking, beans are winnowed using typical winnowing equipment such as a John Gordon or Capco Test Equipment Winnower or equivalent.
Following winnowing, all nibs are combined and well mixed. All nibs will be handpicked to remove all traces of shell — both free shell and shell still stuck to the nibs. Winnowing and handpicking will be performed in an area governed by GMP practices and with an HACCP program in place to ensure the wholesomeness of the product.
After winnowing, nibs will be stored in a sealed bag. Every effort will be made to convert nibs into liquor within 48 hours of roasting. If the nibs cannot be liquor milled within 24 hours of roasting, they will be stored in a tightly sealed bag, preferably a multi-layer, barrier film vacuum seal type to provide barrier film protectionwithout vacuuming. Nibs will not be stored longer than seven (7) calendar days (even in a sealed bag) prior to liquor milling.
Storage temperature should be 10-24°C (50-75°F). If nibs are stored at temperatures less than 18°C (64°F), they must be allowed to warm to room temperature prior to opening the bag.
The expected yield of cleaned roasted nibs from uniformly fermented and dried cocoa beans will be 70%. The HCP has calculated its needs based on 65% to provide added insurance against loss.
B. LIQUOR MILLING
Liquor milling may be accomplished in any suitable slow rotating stone or porcelain grinding mill. Metal milling (e.g., ball mills) or high-speed mills are not to be used. Milling will be performed in an area free of other odors and protected from environmental influences. GMP practices will be in place as well as an active HACCP program to insure wholesomeness of the product.
During milling, the mill will be held at warm room conditions to insure that the liquor will not solidify during the milling process. The mill may be pre-warmed to operating conditions to facilitate milling.
Milling temperature will not exceed 55°C (130°F).
Exact milling times CANNOT be specified as this is dependent on a number of factors such as fat content of the nibs, degree of fermentation of the beans, specific mill used, condition of the stones in the mill, etc. But milling will be accomplished gently and without the addition of significant external mechanical pressure. The objective is to produce liquor that will have no discernible grit to the HCP Tasting Panel in their evaluation without being excessive. The balance between fineness and time will be determined by the HCP Lab, which has extensive experience in this process.
C. CHOCOLATE MAKING
The HCP Lab will use a standard 68% cacao, semisweet chocolate recipe for all evaluations:
2 Prior to use, the sugar must be assessed to ensure that it is neutral in taste and smell by placing 2-4 ounces of sugar in a jar twice that size, securely capping the jar, and holding for at least one hour. The sugar will then be uncapped and immediately smelled to determine that it has no inherent odor.
3 Soya lecithin used should be double bleached and also verified to ensure that it will not alter the flavor of the chocolate.
The same protocol steps for liquor milling then apply to chocolate making:
Once the requisite fineness is reached, milling is concluded.
D. ANALYSES OF LIQUOR AND CHOCOLATE AND HOLDING OF SAMPLES
Following liquor milling, liquor will be checked either by PNMR or by NIR for total fat content. This data and the fineness of the chocolate will be provided to the HCP Tasting Panel with their evaluation samples.
Following all analytical tests on the beans and processing into liquor and chocolate, the remainder of the beans will be stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment until the HCP completes all its analyses, including genetic sampling and ensure sufficient time for all parties, including the Applicant, to review the HCP results, Once it is determined that no further sampling of these beans is needed, the beans may be discarded or the HCP will provide the HCP Lab with other directions.
NOTE: The HCP IS aware that chocolate and in particular semisweet chocolate will change flavor profile — particularly mellowing — with long term storage. While this is understood, it is not practical to hold chocolate 2-4 months to provide a response the Applicant within a suitable time frame. Thus, HCP Tasting Panel samples will be stored one (1) week prior to flavor evaluation and then evaluated – see the subsequent protocols in the left menu.
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