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I am struggling some with "bitterness".  My thinking is that I am running the nibs through the Juicer too many times trying to get the cocoa liquor yield up. 


Could this be the cause of the bitterness?  If so, how many passes should I run?


Thanks for any feedback.  

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What type of beans do you use ? How do you roast the beans ?

After grinding, and conching, does your chocolate rest for some days or weeks ? This time is necessary to eliminate bitterness and acidity.

Maria-  Thank you!  I've been experimenting with a number of different types of beans.  I have a convection oven for roasting.  I have not been letting it rest.  How long do you recommend after conching?  What is the best "resting"/storage method?  Do you let it rest and THEN temper it?  Agasin, thank you.



Hi again Daniel,

I am just starting my business, I don' t have a lot of practical experience. I know that roasting is very important and if the temperature is high the beans become very bitter; what is the temperature and the time you chose ?

You write that you use different type of beans, and do you find that all are bitter or just some of them ?

I use also a convection oven, I roast the beans at 130°C for 20minutes, and I think it's ok.

I learnt that after conching resting is necessary to remove bitterness, I think 2-3 weeks is good, at room temperature. And only then you can temper it. 

WOW.  Thank you.  I am literally just starting and your insight is quite helpful.  In our brief exchange you have helped me realize a couple of my mistakes.  1) I am roasting at too high a temp (350 F until I hear the beans crack) and 2) not allowing the chocolate to rest. 


How many times do you pass the roasted nibs/liquor through the processor?  Is there such a thing as too much?


I wish you the best of luck in your business!

I agre with Maria, aging will allow the bitterness to 'settle', I age mine after tempering but I don't think it really matters. Some origins get very bitter if you roast them too long, I have found this pronounced in beans from peru and the philippines and to some extent with vanuatu. Roasting shorter and cooler is the solution here. As a general rule astringency deacreases with roasting and bitterness increases so you just got to find the sweet spot. One more thing you can do if it is all to bitter is to make a dark milk chocolate, even just a little milk powder in the formulation can reduce bitterness significantly.

Hi Tom ! Thank you for this information and the advice for dark milk chocolate.

I use Domenican Republic cocoa beans, type Hispaniola, and I don't roast them more than 20 minutes. Did you use this type of beans ?

Daniel: thanks for your answer ! I don't use a Juicer, I bought a grinder from CocoaT, I didn't use it yet. But I don't think that if you pass the roasted nibs through the juicer, they become bitter. I think that you have to try to roast the beans  at lower temperatures,  between 260F - 300F. 

Tom and Maria, thank you is all I can say.  Roasting and resting will be focal points for the next go! 

No worries on the help.

Maria, I have used this bean from Chocolate Alchemy, many years ago, I found it was quite astringent bean, in fact so astringent that it curdled milk when I used it to make hot chocolate. It is definitly one that needs 'resting'. I think from memory it was a cooler longer roast I used on this bean. I just looked it up in my notes and it was 800g of beans in one tray for 5 min (170degreesC), 27 min (150degreesC) and then turn oven (kitchen convection) off and leave door open for 10 min then take out of oven and cool (I stir the beans every 5 mins or so during the roasting). I find this last resting in the oven with it off and the door open really developes some good chocolatey notes in the beans and reduces some of that bitterness (some beans that is, not all, I tend to use it on this type of bean and in Vanuatu as it is quite tannic too).

Dark milk chocolate is a great chocolate, if you are setting up a business. For the Australian taste, this is the type of chocolate I would be selling, it is by far and away what people here that taste my chocolate like the best.

I recently bought a small cocao town melanger and have made a dozen or so micro batches in the last month or so.  Using mostly Hispanola from the DR and brought back some Sanchez and a couple of pounds "80%" Hispanola.  These women cooperatives roasted, milled, winnowed and did a gritty grind and make them into 4oz balls.  I also had the chance to translate this summer and see how beans are roasted in a small factory using a continuous method. 

Temperatures were much lower.  They set the factory roaster at around 170 C to have 115-120 C on the beans. Around 250 F.  One women's group uses a pizza type oven and was going toward 350F and burning them.  They were putting them in a cold oven and letting it sit for a couple of hours without attending to them.  I did a roast with them and the temperatures ranged from 250F - 320F and I had it as low as it would go.  It took 45 minutes in a hot oven.   The other women's group is roasting in a big open cast iron pot with wood.  I measured temperatures around 300F as it reached it's peak.  It was about an hour as the pot warmed up and 40-45 for the remaining batches.

I am running out of paste and will have to start buying beans and I appreciate this discussion.

I did one batch of milk chocolate and wondered what percentage of milk powder do you use?

I haven't been aging my chocolate either.  Too eager to start using it. 

10-15% milk powder is a good start for a dark milk choc. I find around 10% for DR type beans and more for fruity beans like Madagascar.

Tom, Thomas, thank you very much to share your experience with these beans. It's so usefull for me ! So, I think, that I have to roast these beans more than 20min if the temperature is 130°C. I will try later to roast the beans at higher temperatures and for 40 minutes at least, and I will compare the results.

The other type of beans I wil use is Rio Caribe, Venezuela. Have you ever worked with this type of beans ?

Thank you in advance !

I agree that your roast sounds a little light for the DR, however, I must tell you that in my roasting pan the beans sit about two to three deep, hence my stirring. If you have them one bean deep they heat and roast a bit quicker.

I have not worked with Rio Caribe yet, but it will undoubtedly be less tannic. I would probably do something like 5 min at 170 then 20 min at 150 with no resting in the oven, I would be tasting the beans all the time to find the best end point though. I taste the beans regularly to assess how long, a good way, well the way I do it is to take out two beans, one on the big side and one on the smaller side, shell them and pop them both in my mouth with about a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar then chew it around for a bit without swallowing. With practice and knowledge of the flavours in your finished chocolate you can get a very good read on how the roast is progressing with this method. It is also really good for detecting two things, astringency and bitterness. The key is to keep chewing to get the paste nice and fine only then can you really start to 'taste' where your roast is at in terms of astringency and bitterness. Roasting is the best bit, I think, a new bean origin, a new challenge, and the house smells so damn good!


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