M.Libânio - Agrícola S.A

Cacao


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Always being preoccupied with good service to the Clients is a constant in the philosophy of M. Libânio Agrícola S.A., and on the basis of this assertion, the Company in its elapsed history, always sought training and technological advancements aiming at supplying them with the best quality of cocoa (dry cocoa beans).

Recently, the Company has intensified its studies and researches for the specialized end product known as “Fine Cocoa” utilized by the best chocolate producers of the world. For this purpose it is interacting entirely with the Center of Research of the Cocoa (CEPEC-CEPLAC) and seeking information in diverse other centers of research which specialize in the technologies of processing the cocoa (examples being ITAL-Brazil, CIRAD-France, amongst others).

- Harvest and Picking up of Fruits (collection)

During the harvest attention must be given to the ideal point in the ripening process of the fruits, desiring the diminution of the acidity and having adequate quantities of sugars and other necessary substances for a good fermentation.

During the collection process and transfer, care must be given to avoid perforation of the fruits. The sick and damaged fruits should be discarded.

- Breaking and Transporting the Cocoa Beans:

The breaking (opening) of the fruits and the removal of the cocoa beans are done manually, utilizing a small machete.

The cocoa beans with the pulp intact are separated from the placenta, placed in adequate containers and subsequently properly transported to the “house of fermentation”.

The Company controls each break through specific lot numbering (each daily volume is numbered). We never proceed with mixtures or fermentations of cocoa beans originating from different breaks, which would therefore lead to uneven fermentation and in so doing, would be fatal to the final quality of the cocoa.

- Fermentation of the Cocoa Beans:

In this essential phase for obtaining cocoa beans of good quality and desiring the correct development of the fermentation process, M. Libânio utilizes the experience of researchers with years of experience, Dr. Michel Barel (CIRAD – France), Dr. Priscilla Efraim (ITAL – Brazil) and others.

In this phase, faults from the breaking or transporting of the originating harvest cannot be corrected.

Normally, good fermentation of cocoa in the climatic conditions of Bahia, Brazil requires five to seven days, varying on the fluctuation of temperature and the relative humidity of the air.

The Company has established between 100 kilos minimum and 1,000 kilos maximum of cocoa batter volume that arrives in each lot for fermentation. These lots should be packaged in a wood fermentation box that must reach a minimum height of 60 centimeters and a maximum of 80 centimeters.

In the bottom of the boxes, where the batter is accumulated, drains exist (holes)-which must always remained unblocked – to facilitate the drainage of the “honey” – the pectin of the pulp is broken and in so doing becomes liquid and drains, permitting air to come into contact with the cocoa beans and thus ? beginning the aerobic phase.

Important factors in the fermentation process:

  1. System of fermentation;
  2. Temperature of the environment;
  3. Initial temperature of the batter (cocoa beans with pulp);
  4. pH and acidity of the pulp and of the cocoa beans;
  5. Temperature and pH of the process (we are going to follow step-by-step the course of Dr. Michel Barel, by taking measurements of the temperature and pH of the batter).

The presence of the pulp is very important to have an absence of air, in order to permit the development of yeasts. We proceed with the introduction of banana tree leaves into the batter, with the introduction of the leaves we are aiming for the best development of yeasts during the alcoholic phase of the fermentation.

The main biochemical and physical phenomena that occur in this phase are the following:

  • a)  Natural removal of the pulp mucilaginous;
  • b)  Death of the germ (loss of the capacity for the seed to germinate);
  • c)  Hydrolyses of proteins (amino acids);
  • d)  Hydrolyses of sugars present in the pulp;
  • e)  Darkening of the cocoa bean by reactions of oxidation.

In this phase, breaks occur in the walls of the cells, enzymes enter into contact with the substrates, proteins are broken into amino acids, and sugars are broken into smaller chains and consumed by the microorganisms that develop during the fermentation:

FIRST PHASE => Alcoholic Phase and Anaerobic Fermentation (without air, without oxygen) ? transformation occurs of the sugars of the pulp in alcohol and carbon dioxide. That reaction provokes the increase of temperature (between 30°C to 35°C). That should occur in the first forty-eight hours and there is liberation of 96 KJ/Molecule of transformed sugar.

 

SECOND PHASE => Acetic Phase or Aerobic Fermentation ? occurs and favors the growth of acetic bacteria that produce acetic acid (vinegar). This reaction generates a larger quantity of energy. The temperature will be able to rise above 50°C by the liberation of 490 KJ. In this phase, correct performance of turning should occur (homogenization of the batter) to produce uniformity in the fermentation.

 

- DRYING OF THE Cocoa Beans:

Due to the climatic conditions of Bahia, Brazil (temperature and relative humidity of the air), there is an elaborate system of drying 100% native; drying integrated between the utilization of greenhouses and barcaças (sheds with retractable roofs).

Our objective is not only going to improve the final quality of our cocoa, we are also going to avoid contamination by aromatic hydrocarbon particles or any other contaminates. This system also will provide a bigger guarantee of the preservation of our Atlantic Forest, due to the fact that we will not be utilizing firewood for artificial dryers.

In the beginning of the drying process the drying of the batter needs to occur as quickly as possible (in greenhouses) to prohibit the development of fungi.

In the following days we alternate between the utilization of greenhouses and barcaças, avoiding a quick drying, maintaining the temperature of the batter around 35°C, preventing the loss of the cocoa butter – film that surrounds the seed – and at the same time permitting the volatile acids formed in fermentation to be eliminated in a satisfactory form; conferring the cocoa beans to less acrimony and bitterness.

We have obtained a median time between seven and ten days for the drying of the cocoa beans.

POSSIBLE INFORMATIONS::

Country of origin » Brazil

Farm of origin;

Harvest date;

Date and fermentation period;

Specific varity or Identification of the mixing varities of the lot.


Rua Manoel Libânio da Silva, 100, Centro, Gandu - Bahia - Brasil | CEP 45.450-000