Bitte Chocolate is a small-batch chocolate company located in Charleston, SC.
The bean-to-bar process of artisan chocolate making involves five steps.
The secret to the best artisan chocolate making is in the cocoa beans you select. Before starting production, we carefully chose Tumbes cocoa beans to import from Peru.
There are three types of cocoa beans used for chocolate production: Forastero, Trinitario, and Criollo.
Forastero beans are the most common, characterized by their "ordinary" flavor, and often used as a bulk bean for mass production.
Trinitario beans are a hybrid of Forastero and Criollo. Trinitario are easy to grow but the flavor does not compete with Criollo.
Criollo beans make up 1% of cocoa beans in the world. We use Tumbes, a variety of the rarer and finer Criollo bean, for its rich and complex flavor. The Criollo bean is harder to grow than any other bean, but the flavor it yields is surpassed by no other cocoa bean.
THE ARTISAN CHOCOLATE MAKING PROCESS
Read on to learn more about our best artisan chocolate making practices. To avoid the mess and stress, you can also just find a Charleston chocolate store near you. You can also get on our mailing list to find out when our next batch of Charleston chocolates is ready.
STEP 1: ROASTING
The first step in the chocolate making process is roasting, which brings out the bright, fruity flavor of the Tumbes beans. We roast our beans in small batches to ensure that every bean is roasted to bring out the greatest flavor of the bean.
STEP 2: WINNOWING
After roasting, the next step is to winnow and grind the beans. Winnowing separates the husks from the beans, leaving just the nibs which are then ground into a cocoa liquor.
STEP 3: CONCHING
At this point, sugar, cocoa butter, and (depending on the bar) milk are added to the cocoa liquor. The mix is put into a melanger to undergo the conching and refining processes. During this time, the chocolate develops its taste, scent, and texture as the sugar crystals break down to a point that the mouth cannot feel the granules.
STEP 4: TEMPERING
After a couple of days conching in the melanger the chocolate is taken out, tempered and poured into molds. Tempering is the act of rising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate to give it a glossy finish and a hard snap when you bite it.
STEP 5: AGING
The final step is to let the bars age for a couple weeks. When the chocolate first comes out of the melange the chocolate has a sour taste to it. After a couple of weeks the the sour taste mellows out and brings out the chocolate flavor that everyone knows and loves.
Bitte Chocolate produces its artisan handmade dark chocolate bars and milk chocolate bars out of Sugar Bakeshop. It is the only bean to bar chocolate in the Low-Country.