Cacao
raw ingredients

PRECIOUS RAW MATERIAL – MUCH-LOVED INDULGENCE

Cacao is a valuable raw ingredient which Felchlin uses to produce one of the world's most popular luxury foods: exquisite Swiss couverture. Thanks to their individual environments, different countries of origin produce cocoa beans with multi-layered and intense flavours.

TRANSPARENCY AND FAIRNESS

The same applies to all regions from which Felchlin sources its cacao beans: transparency and a fair approach to local partners as well as the highest quality standards in the procurement of raw ingredients – ranging from careful harvesting to safe transport to the company's location in central Switzerland.

CACAO TREE

The cacao tree grows in various regions along the equator, where it benefits from an average temperature of around 25 degrees. A humid, rainy climate and the shade of larger trees encourage cacao fruit to grow.

HARVEST

At the end of the rainy season, the cacao fruit is ripe and the harvest begins. With the help of a sharp knife, the farmer very carefully separates the ripe fruit from the tree. He is careful not to damage the trunk, the flowers and the unripe fruits. Once harvested, the fruit is cut open and the seeds and pulp are removed from the skin.

FERMENTATION

The seeds and pulp are put into wooden boxes and covered with leaves. The fruit begins to ferment due to the high sugar content in the pulp. Acetic acids are produced, which then evaporate. The beans are repeatedly mixed to achieve an even fermentation process, which lasts five to seven days.

SUN DRYING

The farmer empties the wooden crates after fermentation is complete and spreads the beans out in the sun to dry. After five to ten days, the natural drying process is complete. A cutting test is then carried out. The beans are cut open and checked for moisture. The moisture content of the beans must not exceed 6% so as to prevent the formation of mould.

SELECTION AND TRANSPORTATION

The beans are then sorted according to size and quality, either by hand or using the simplest sorting equipment. This step is extremely important, as the beans should be as even as possible in terms of size for downstream stages of processing. The sorted beans are then filled into either jute or specially designed plastic bags. They are now ready for transport by shipping container to Europe.

Centenario A Internet
Ernte enet
Cacao Bauer Fermentation enet
Trocknung Internet
Verarbeitung Cacaosaecke fuellen Internet

CACAO TREE

The cacao tree grows in various regions along the equator, where it benefits from an average temperature of around 25 degrees. A humid, rainy climate and the shade of larger trees encourage cacao fruit to grow.

Centenario A Internet

HARVEST

At the end of the rainy season, the cacao fruit is ripe and the harvest begins. With the help of a sharp knife, the farmer very carefully separates the ripe fruit from the tree. He is careful not to damage the trunk, the flowers and the unripe fruits. Once harvested, the fruit is cut open and the seeds and pulp are removed from the skin.

Ernte enet

FERMENTATION

The seeds and pulp are put into wooden boxes and covered with leaves. The fruit begins to ferment due to the high sugar content in the pulp. Acetic acids are produced, which then evaporate. The beans are repeatedly mixed to achieve an even fermentation process, which lasts five to seven days.

Cacao Bauer Fermentation enet

SUN DRYING

The farmer empties the wooden crates after fermentation is complete and spreads the beans out in the sun to dry. After five to ten days, the natural drying process is complete. A cutting test is then carried out. The beans are cut open and checked for moisture. The moisture content of the beans must not exceed 6% so as to prevent the formation of mould.

Trocknung Internet

SELECTION AND TRANSPORTATION

The beans are then sorted according to size and quality, either by hand or using the simplest sorting equipment. This step is extremely important, as the beans should be as even as possible in terms of size for downstream stages of processing. The sorted beans are then filled into either jute or specially designed plastic bags. They are now ready for transport by shipping container to Europe.

Verarbeitung Cacaosaecke fuellen Internet

«Meeting the cocoa farmers is very rewarding for me. The on-site visits inspire mutual trust and create a sense of partnership among equals. Because it is not only the cocoa tree that needs nurturing, but also a collaboration that has endured for many years.»

Gerold Suter, Procurement, Cacao, Max Felchlin AG