Chocolate Processing: The Science Behind the Sweet Tooth

Once again it is the season for costumed kids (and adults) to collect and consume hordes of Halloween candy – specifically chocolate. Historically, chocolate has accounted for more than half of all Halloween candy sold. Americans eat about 3.5 billion pounds of chocolate annually, but they buy 90 million pounds of it during the week leading up to Halloween.

The production path of chocolate is a long one before it ends up in the Halloween bags of excited trick-or-treaters. Ultimately, chocolate passes through several different types of wire mesh filters and 3A certified strainers on its way to store shelves and into the eager hands of consumers.

From Forest to Filter

The transformation of cacao beans into chocolate is broken down into these basic steps.

  • Harvesting and fermentation
  • Drying and storage
  • Testing, cleaning and roasting
  • Cracking, grinding and refining – This is where the outer shell is removed and the inner meat of the bean is broken down into smaller pieces known as “nibs”. Winnowing is the second phase of this step where the nibs are sorted by size as they pass through a variety of wire mesh sieves
  • Conching – A thorough mixing of the chocolate “dough” that changes its taste and fineness
  • Tempering and chocolate formation - Tempering is where the chocolate changes from a liquid or semiliquid state to a solid

 Good tempering produces chocolate that appears glossy and smooth, has a clear snap, firm bite and uniform texture in the mouth. Finally the chocolate is ready for wrapping and distribution.

Filtering Fountains of Chocolate

Chocolate is filtered to ensure a high-quality finished product free of contaminants. Additionally, because of different global consistency standards, there is a need for filtration systems capable of handling diverse raw materials. These are just a few ways 3A certified strainers are used in chocolate processing.

  • Filtering virgin chocolate after conching
  • Tanker loading and unloading
  • Filtering reclaimed chocolate after it drips off of candies with centers
  • Filtering reworked chocolate to remove contaminations like foil wrappers, nuts and almonds

 Filtering chocolate not only creates a mouth-watering treat, it ensures product safety and quality and reduces the potential for product recalls.

Selecting the Right Strainers

Considering how many different varieties of chocolates are produced, selecting the right strainer is important. Key strainer characteristics to examine when planning a filtering system for your chocolate production line are:

  • What is the size of the line and process flow rate?
  • What percentage of solids must be captured?
  • What is the particulate size requiring removal?
  • Does the line require coarse, medium straining or filtration level straining?
  • Does the filter require any straining media?

 The right strainer system will increase production uptime without costly shutdowns for cleaning and perfectly maintain product integrity without compromising safety, quality or cost.

Why Saniclean Strainers?

SaniClean Strainers are suitable for a wide range of applications, from small batch runs to 24/7 continuous production cycles. Our strainers are available in varying capacities from creeping flow rates to high volume production outputs. They are easily integrated into new or existing piping configurations. Standard material of construction is 316L; other corrosion resistant alloys are available for handling highly corrosive fluids.

Review

Chocolate harvesting and production uses wire mesh and wire cloth strainers throughout the manufacturing process.

  • Cacao nibs are sorted by size as they pass through a variety of wire mesh sieves
  • Chocolate is filtered to ensure a high-quality finished product free of contaminants
  • Selecting the right filter and filtration system enhances chocolate production

 SaniClean Strainers, a Newark Wire brand, manufactures a complete line of wire cloth and industrial 3A certified strainers, assemblies, replacement parts, and filter media suitable for a wide range of applications and capacities – including the production of mouth-watering chocolate. Contact them today and get their products and expertise working for your next filtration project.