There are many schools of thought when it comes to roasting cacao. The truth of the matter is that there is no one right way to roast a cacao bean. The time, temperature, and roast profile will all be dependent upon the genetic type of the bean, the fermentation methods, the drying methods and drying time, the size of the beans relative to other beans, the amount of cacao being roasted, the type of roaster, the rate of cooling after roast, and then the type of equipment used to pre-grind, refine and/or conche. In short, every roast is unique to every chocolate maker and ours is perfect for our beans and for the equipment that we use and the way that we use it.
Depending on the chocolate maker, the goal of the roast can be quite different. One goal that we all have in common is to loosen the husk from the bean to help make winnowing more effective later. Another goal that we should all have in common is to kill any harmful bacteria that might have been picked up along the way during harvest, fermentation, drying, and transportation. Apart from these common goals, some chocolate makers might give more importance to uniformity than to true quality. The best analogy for this type of roast is the French Roast of the coffee world. This is a roast for particularly unflavorful cacao beans—more accurately, for beans that have no good flavor whatsoever. But through a high temperature roast, all of the bad flavors (and possibly some good) are roasted out and the final result is a consistent, roasty chocolate flavor.
The “French Roast” is arguably the most common roasting method in the chocolate industry today, except when it comes to a handful of reputable, large chocolate makers and quality-focused small batch chocolate makers. Without giving away our trade secrets, we’re happy to share the fact that we do a long, low temperature roast.
First of all, you can’t make exceptional chocolate without exceptional cacao. With this in mind, our goal while roasting is to preserve and develop the complex flavor profile that is already present in our cacao beans while simultaneously removing some of the bad tasting acids that were produced during fermentation. It’s important to note, however, that any mistakes made during roasting cannot be undone during later processes—so experience is key when it comes to achieving the perfect roast.