The Exploratorium

...Chocolate       Page Five

Chocolate Factory Tour
The process of making fine chocolate hasn't changed much since the Swiss breakthroughs of the late 1800s. To better understand the procedure, I decided to see it firsthand. Just south of San Francisco is the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory. It's the first American factory started in the last 60 years that makes chocolate directly from the beans. It uses all European equipment -- most of it vintage, from before World War II. Steven Taormina was kind enough to take us on a tour and explain the chocolate-making process.

Take a RealVideo tour of the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory near San Francisco.
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Sorting cacao beans Beans
The process of turning cacao into chocolate, not surprisingly, starts with the beans. For fine chocolate, the selection and mix of beans is very important. Companies like Scharffen Berger use up to 12 different varieties of beans from all over the world.

All of the beans are sorted by hand before being roasted. Each variety of bean is roasted separately.

Following the roasting process, the beans are loaded into a machine known as the winnower, which removes the hard outer hulls and separates the "nibs" of the beans by size. The nibs are the basic product used for chocolate production.



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