Monday 5 May 2014

The Chocolate Challenge - Winnowing

Dear readers,

The second stage of my home chocolate production is winnowing the roasted beans. Winnowing involves the removal of the shell and can be carried out before or after roasting and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Since the shell is very difficult to remove before roasting and would require some form of pre-treatment, I decided to roast my beans first. The major disadvantages of winnowing post-roasting is that some of the cocoa butter is lost in the shell and more energy is required to roast the beans. However, I have plans for my shells so there is no loss of product!

I simply cracked the beans and separated the shells using my hands. This can be quite tedious and time consuming, but it was fine for a small batch of 1kg. I did, however, suffer a minor injury of a sharp piece of shell underneath my thumbnail!

Another method involves cracking the beans and shells together and using a fan or hairdryer to blow the lightweight broken shells away from the broken nibs. I decided not to do this because I wanted to save all of the shells.


  1. I've never even heard of winnowing. Great job! Sorry for the slight injury - outch.

  2. I thought that there might be a really clever trick to removing the shells but I've no idea why I thought that. You've got me guessing about a possible use for the shells.

  3. Winnowing is obviously a labour of love and very time consuming - after these tutorials simply eating chocolate from a bar will never be the same again:)

  4. oh my god I know how much work is involved. Got hold of some cacao fruits from a friend in Singapore, and we decided to make our own chocolate thinking easy eh? Dug out, fermented the beans, peeled the moldy shells off, then roasted, ground and then made chocolate. Was only alright as I guess we aren't as experienced as people who do make chocolate for a living. But it did make me appreciate chocolate a lot more though, and the producers who go to such pains to make it. Kudos to you! Good luck with this project!

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