Refining fine-flavour fermentation

Sweet-toothed research examines bean to bar processes to fine-tune flavours. 

Lead researchers: Prof David Salt, Dr Gabriel Castrillo

The cocoa market is divided into fine-flavour and bulk cocoa. The fine-flavour sector of the cocoa market constitutes only 5% of the global market, but is growing all the time as more consumers come to realise how chocolate flavour is influenced by terroir, like fine wine.

Bean to bar chocolate is the most sought after of fine-flavour chocolate, and links consumers directly to the farmers that grow the cacao.

This project brings together Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates in Nottingham, with three female cacao growers in Colombia. Working with hand-held DNA sequences on the farm, our scientists are researching the different microbes present during fermentation, an on-farm process that significantly affects chocolate flavour. Together with the farmers, our researchers will develop techniques to improve the fermentation process and thus the chocolate flavour. Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates will be making chocolate bars from all three harvests over the duration of the project, creating comparable chocolate bars that can be analysed for flavour, taste and aroma.


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