After harvesting, the pods are cut open and the beans and their pulp removed
These are transferred to some kind of container – usually a large wooden crate, and covered in banana leaves. They are then left to ferment for 5-7 days. This fermentation process is crucial to the flavour development of chocolate.
It’s the sweet pulp that ferments and as it does so, it turns to liquid and drains away, leaving the beans brown in colour.
During the process, beans can exceed temperatures of over 50C (120F), so if you’ve ever eaten a product labelled as ‘raw chocolate’, it’s almost certainly not raw.