I just bought a few kilos of beans from a local distributer and noticed that in the sack from Ecuador there were some pretty bizarre looking beans (totaling less than 10%, I would say), at least compared to other beans I've had before. Quite a few of the them had white specks on the outside/inside (mold?), were hollow or looked like they had been eaten by something, or were cut in half. There were also a handful of pea sized, shrunken beans and a few that looked like they had germinated. I'm just curious if this is common when buying beans in bulk. I added a picture below. Also, I apologize if I posted this in the wrong place. I did a search but didn't find a recent/related thread. I'm new here (and new to chocolate making). Thanks!
very common. ecuador's a terribly difficult place to dry beans properly, so a great deal of them mold. if you don't have the proper relationships and controls in place, those beans will find their way to you. there's a saying in the ivory coast that's applicable here - it roughly translates to " there's no graveyard for cocoa beans" - meaning all beans will find their way somewhere other than the trash.
Don't worry so much about surface mold - what's important is if the mold has penetrated the bean. cut 100 of them in half and if more than 5 or 6 of them are moldy inside, then you have a problem.
thanks for the response. yeah, I'm seeing quite a bit of mold that's made its way inside the bean. No fun