What Constitutes Post-Harvest in Cocoa and Why is it Important?
During my training, I learned about the wide range of activities and practices that influence flavor quality, including pod breaking, where the use of wooden clubs enhances efficient removal of the beans. I also learned that allowing harvested pods to rest for two to four days before pod breaking enhances effective fermentation by facilitating the breakdown of complex sugars into their simpler forms. I learned that fermentation should last six days, with the fermentation heap turned every 48 hours, to allow both the aerobic and anaerobic fermentation to take place properly. I was also educated on tray, box, and basket fermentation methods that can be used depending on the heap, and weight of beans. Proper drying of fermented cocoa on raffia mats rather than polythene sheet and other materials or on surfaces that do not allow aeration of the drying beans will affect the flavor of cocoa as well. Finally, proper storage is key. Beans should be packed in appropriate jute bags or baskets and stored in a clean, odorless place to maintain good flavor.