We left home early but the UV Express we rode in took an erratic path resulting to two times slower travel. The heavy traffic towards the end of CAVITEX entering Pasay make the thing worst. It was thanks to MRT and taxi that we were only half hour late to the appointed time. We attended to the “Development Philippine National Standard for Coffee and Cocoa Grinder”, held August 7, 2015 in BAFS office. My wife and I were included in TWG (technical working group) through the endorsement of CocoaPhil.
I had the feeling they were trying to came up with a single grinding standard for cacao and coffee. I was right but never participated in earlier argument because of our tardiness. It was a good thing some members disagreed, so the two became separate. Coffee and cacao are closely related and have similarities in regards to postharvest tech. However, examining the two carefully reveals their huge differences.
Not much had been discussed yet so I took the honor of briefing about cacao processing. From bean selection, to roasting, winnowing, grinding and molding.
Cocoa grinding in elaborate manner. Locals including me are usually using grinding equipment not meant for cocoa beans. Grinder for coffee, rice, peanut and soya. Why? The simple answer. There is no locally available grinding equipment for cacao beans. We never realized that what we do is only a pre-grinding process to speed up the next step, the refining. Method defined as particle size reduction small enough not to be perceived by human tongue, or particle size of 20 to 30 microns. We never want roughness or grit in our chocolate and it is what we are getting rid off in refining process.
Suggested two methods of measuring the particle size. The first one is thru micrometer caliper and the second is using grindometer. The first only measure the largest particle size the liquor might have while the second gives the particle size distribution. The grindometer as standard method of testing was accepted.
It is also suggested (by other participants) that equipment should be GMP compliant. Mostly made of T304 stainless steel or the parts in contact with food. Easy to disassemble, clean and reassemble.
We took our leave when they began discussing standards for coffee grinder. It was an interesting topic to hear but we had other appointment.
Our main product from cacao beans are tablea. In my observation, most marketed tablea are roughly ground. I hope this meeting lead to development of local equipment able to grind and refine cacao down to acceptable microns. Good tasting tabliya will taste better when processed to have a silky smooth texture.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.