Bean To Bar
What is bean to bar?
Marshall&Co chocolate is made in our small factory in south Birmingham –from bean to bar. Handcrafting the chocolate from a raw cacao bean through to a finished bar allows us to control every step. We are proud to be one of the very few UK producers who craft from bean to bar.
Cacao is one of the most complex, delicious and fascinating foods in the world. It is one of the few foods that is both fermented and roasted – creating unparalleled flavour profiles.
However, these incredible flavours have been mainly lost due to the demand for mass-manufactured industrial chocolate over the past century. Any large company is going to have different priorities than a small one, and for industrial chocolate, the priorities are consistency and low cost. Industrial chocolate may seem cheap but we are paying the cost in other ways. Each bar is full of unnecessary fats, e-numbers and additives – with often less than 20% cacao content.
We choose the best cacao beans from around the world and pay a premium price for them. Buying high quality and organic cacao means paying far beyond the global market fair trade price. Paying for the worth of the cacao is so important in guaranteeing high-quality crops, creating a sustainable future for the farm and building a mutually beneficial relationship with the farmers. It’s not magic – an incredible chocolate bar starts with an incredible farmer.
Once the sacks arrive at our workshop, our process involves taking special care at every stage:
We hand sort, assessing each bean individually for defects – beans that have defects or are badly fermented don’t taste as good. Sorting the good from the bad ensures that only the best beans are used.
Various chemical reactions occur within the cacao bean when it is roasted. We roast our beans in an oven at a temperature of 160c on trays of 1kg. We like to roast light – to allow the sugars to caramelise in the bean and the natural flavours to develop.
We then allow the beans to rest for 1hr to cool down before cracking. We crack the roasted beans to separate the outer husk from the nibs. The nibs and husks are then completely separated by a process called winnowing.
We add nibs and a small percentage of cocoa butter to a heavy stone grinder called a melanger. We then add sugar and grind for up to 48 hours reducing the particle size of the ingredients.
Once done, we temper the chocolate, aligning its crystal structure to stabilise the chocolate and give it a crisp snap. We temper in small batches and hand-pour the chocolate into bar-shaped moulds.
We package our products by hand use fully recylable or biodegradable materials.
It is our attention to detail at each and every stage which sets Marshall&Co chocolate apart.