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[Green School x] Chocolate Class : Cacao Fermentation

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Horas! Okta from Business team is here🙋‍♀️

Anyway, we have been collaborating with Green School for three months, and you can find some of our blog posts about Green School activities here: , 🤠

A few weeks ago, Mr Driver approached me and asked if I would like to participate in the chocolate class, and of course, I said yes right away. I love chocolate ^^

Then he set up a WhatsApp group and invited the chocolate class’s teachers, Ibu Ida & Ibu Angie. We later discussed the possibility of participating in the chocolate class for middle school students in an online meeting. The program’s goal is to allow students to participate in the learning process by connecting with the community and performing social community services related to cacao and its impact on the environment and society. The students will learn about cacao production and participate in an experiment to make healthy chocolate dishes. Finally, they will engage in entrepreneurship by promoting healthy chocolate products. 😊

The teachers asked us to explain the connection between cacao and climate change, followed by fermentation & cocoa drink workshops. In this blog, I’ll share with you my experience with the Chocolate class in Green School. We started with a brief introduction, followed by a cacao fermentation workshop, Tak’s presentation, and hot chocolate & cacao brewing workshop. Let’s talk about fermentation first 😁

I asked Ayu, one of our gift supporters, a cacao farmer, to teach students about fermentation. I went to her village three days before the class to collect the cacao pods that we would use for the chocolate class.

Cacao Pods from Sepang Village

Our fermentation workshop began by giving some cacao pods to each student. They were very enthusiastic about opening the pods with their little wooden mallets. Oh ya, we only take the good cocoa beans from the cocoa pods that have been opened. This is because if we mix them all together, the fermentation process will fail. So, we avoid it 😉

Ayu explained that some cacao is rotten due to fruit flies and severe rainfall. When we look at the rotten cocoa pods, we may notice a few things. We can observe the fruit’s outer skin layer; any holes indicate that fruit flies have attacked the cocoa. Hence, we have to make sure to select cocoa pods that are without holes.

So, what should we do for the rest of the rotten cacao? 🧐

We have to bury them so that they don’t contaminate other plants nearby and can decompose along the way ✨

Cacao Beans & Cacao Pods

In the next step, the cacao beans will be stored in the fermenting basket. Generally, you should avoid using metal-based fermenters because they can rust, which is bad for our food. Furthermore, metals can leach into food. We ferment the cacao beans in a bamboo basket. Banana leaves are also used to wrap it. Throughout the five-day fermentation process, we must constantly rotate and stir the beans at the same hour every day. The fermentation process brings out the full flavour and aroma of cacao beans. It also helps to kill the germs that existed in the pod before the fermentation process.

Ayu's tip: we need to use a basket/box with holes in the bottom so that the juices from the fermentation process can easily drip out 🤓

Anyway, we made a mistake during the workshop by separating the cacao beans into two storages, each with a capacity of roughly 2 kg. If we want to ferment the cacao beans properly, we need at least 4 kg per storage. There is a huge chance the fermentation will fail as well if it is less. Thank Ayu and Tak for pointing out the mistake! Again, it's important to not hesitate to point out the mistake! In the end, we combine the whole of 4kg cacao beans into one bamboo basket. Hope the fermentation goes well!

Do you like chocolate? How much do you like it? Let me know in the comments. I'll continue the story on my next blog. Bis später! 😉👋🏾

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