The cocoa-beans that are processed at our roastery are cultivated in the Dominican Republic. In the area of Medina, approximately 20 km north-west of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Caribbean state, a co-operation of farmers harvests and prepares the beans with special care to reach the highest quality possible.
A cocoa pod (fruit) has a rough leathery rind about 3 cm thick (this varies with the origin and variety of pod). It is filled with sweet, mucilaginous pulp enclosing 30 to 50 large seeds that are fairly soft and pale pink or lavender in colour. Seeds usually are white.
When the pods ripen, they are harvested from the trunks and branches of the Cocoa tree with a curved knife on a long pole. The pod itself is green when ready to harvest. The pods are either opened on the field and the seeds extracted and carried to the fermentation area on the plantation, or the whole pods are taken to the fermentation area.
The harvested pods are opened – typically with a machete – the pulp and cocoa seeds are removed and the rind is discarded. The pulp and seeds are then piled in heaps, placed in bins, or laid out on grates for several days. During this time, the seeds and pulp undergo "sweating", where the thick pulp liquefies as it ferments. The fermented pulp trickles away, leaving cocoa seeds behind to be collected. Sweating is important for the quality of the beans, which originally have a strong bitter taste. If sweating is interrupted, the resulting cocoa may be ruined; if underdone the cocoa seed maintains a flavor similar to raw potatoes and becomes susceptible to mildew.
The fermented beans are dried by spreading them out over a large surface and constantly raking them. In large plantations, this is done on huge trays under the sun or by using artificial heat.
The co-operation of farmers in Medina make an additional step before fermenting the cocoa beans: They select the beans by hand to make sure that only good ones are being fermented.
To ferment the beans special plastic packs are used.
After fermentation the beans are transported to GEGENBAUER and roasted very carefully at about 150 degrees Celsius. At our roastery we regularely roast small amounts of beans. This guarantees that our customers always get fresh roasted well tasting cocoa.
- Pure as a well tasting snack
- As a well tasting drink: grind the beans and pour hot milk over them, then strain the milk an serve a well tasting cocoa drink.
- in desserts
- in muesli
- as an addition to dough for cookies.
Chocolate and cocoa contain a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health. The ingestion of flavonol-rich cocoa is associated with acute elevation of circulating nitric oxide, enhanced flow-mediated vasodilation, and augmented microcirculation.