The chocolate making process 

Much of the quality of the chocolate will depend on the origin and grade of the beans. However, to make a bar of outstanding chocolate there are steps to follow: 


At RIVA, we hand sort every single tray of cocoa beans before roasting. Hand sorting is a time-consuming process, but it’s this attention to detail that is crucial to creating the best quality chocolate. We spread the cocoa beans across a work surface and pick through each and every one to remove any imperfect beans (cracked, very flat ones or with tiny holes made by insects), as well as any foreign material that may be packed together with beans at the farm.


Roasting is a crucial step in determining the unique flavor profile of chocolate. The artistry of chocolate makers is evident in their ability to precisely tailor roasting parameters to the diverse origins of cocoa beans.

This is done by a small drum roaster machine (originally built to roast coffee), which holds 1kg of cocoa beans at a time. The roaster machine is designed to rotate the beans and roast as evenly and accurately as possible. During this process chemical reactions occur where the beans start to develop their flavor. The exact temperature and roast time are part of the chocolate maker’s recipe. 

Cracking and Winnowing

Each cocoa bean is covered by a thin shell (also called the husk). The roasting step makes the shell around the bean pop, which helps in the removing process. The beans are cracked open and the husk is removed in a process called winnowing.

Winnowing takes place in a funny-looking system of plastic tubes, where the air is run by a Shop Vac. The lighter husk is blown away and sucked into a bucket, while the heavier, crushed cocoa beans fall into a bowl, leaving behind pieces of the pure cocoa bean known as “nibs”.

Grinding, Refining and Conching

The refining process involves a combination of grinding, heating, and mixing that helps to develop the chocolate’s great flavor and texture. We refine using a tabletop machine called melanger (a large metal cylinder with a granite base, with two rotating granite wheels).

The first step is loading the machine gradually with nibs to make a paste known as cocoa mass or cocoa liquor (a pure, unrefined form of chocolate). This process can take a few hours. In the second step, we add into the paste cane sugar and other ingredients like powdered milk (for milk chocolate).

The whole chocolate refining process can take up to a few days and has a very big impact on the flavour notes in the finished chocolate. Deciding exactly how long to leave the batch in the machine is part of the chocolate maker’s skill.


Tempering is one of the most essential steps. Well-tempered chocolate should have a shiny, smooth texture with a crisp snap when broken. Tempering chocolate simply means melting the chocolate while controlling how its temperature rises and falls to form exactly the right kind of crystals.

Molding and wrapping 

The final step in making a finished chocolate bar is pouring the liquid chocolate into a mold to form the desired design.

Once cooled, the chocolate bar is hand-wrapped in aluminum foil and enclosed in a protective paper sleeve, then sealed with an information label.