Read all about sustainability here, where we trace the steps of chocolate, from rain forest to your mouth. How chocolate is made and improves, when conditions are improved for the people making it.
Since we work with full traceability, we are in touch with 5000 cocoa farmers in western Ghana. They grow, harvest and ferment the cocoa bean, which is our most important commodity. Thereby, we help them to help themselves in a sustainable manner through education, improved labour conditions and earnings. Traceability is the prerequisite for making a difference.
Chocolate is made from cocoa, sugar and milk. Cocoa comes from the cocoa fruit's seeds, commonly known as cocoa beans. Cocoa trees grow in the shade of the Equatorial rain forests. The fruit grows directly on the trunk of the tree and contains approx. 40 cocoa beans.
The cocoa fruits are harvested twice a year. The farmers cut the fruits from the trees and cut them open with big machetes. The cocoa beans are removed from the shell with the sweet, white pulp that is crucial to the fermentation process.
Improved living conditions
To us, sustainability is acknowledging our responsibility to the 5000 cocoa farmers, who make a living by making our cocoa. It is our goal to improve their living conditions through our partnership. This means that we take steps to reduce the causes of poor living conditions. Amongst other things, we work together to get:
- Sustainable production
- Improved cocoa beans
- Better conditions for children
We work closely with the cocoa farmers about sustainability and a higher yield of cocoa beans. This is done through farmer training, where we teach them to produce a higher quality of crops and attain a better yield from the harvest. The goal is to increase every family's earnings by up to three times as much and, thereby, improve their living conditions.
The cocoa beans are fermented in the pulp of the cocoa fruit. If it does not ferment correctly, the taste potential is not realised in the beans. Normally, the beans are fermented in piles covered by banana leaves. The pile is regularly turned by hand for the 6-7 days that the fermentation process is under way. In cooperation with the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana and the University of Copenhagen's LIFE-institute, we have developed a method that eases the process and develops the taste potential of the beans far better.
The cocoa beans ferment in piles covered by banana leaves. The pile is regularly turned by hand to provide oxygen for the fermentation process.
Tray 10 fermentation
The cocoa beans ferment in 10 cm tall wooden trays that are stacked to allow the air to flow between the trays. The beans are used in Toms Ekstra chocolate.
After fermentation, the cocoa beans are poured onto mats in the villages, where they dry in the sun. They need to be turned regularly to dry properly. While drying, the taste potential is developed further. When the beans turn crunchy, they are dry enough to be bagged and sent to quality control, before being sold to Toms.
Better conditions for children
Sustainability is also about securing an improved future for the children. We are diligently working to have more children attend school and get an education. We fight against child labour, ensure that children attend school and, at most, work in the cocoa fields in their spare time.
This many children passes 9th grade in the districts before and after our efforts.
The beans change ownership
After drying, the cocoa beans are transported to the local office for quality control. The cocoa farmer receives his payment and Toms now owns the beans that are transferred to large burlap sacks.
From Equator to Ballerup
The cocoa beans are driven from the villages to a ship by the coast. From there, they are sailed to Hamburg. And from there transported to Toms chocolate factory in Ballerup.
At Toms, we roast the cocoa ourselves. First, we break the cocoa beans into smaller pieces, called cocoa nibs. The shells are removed and the nibs are roasted
The roasting releases the aroma of the cocoa beans. Our chocolate master creates a roasting strategy that varies according to the desired flavour of the chocolate.
The final stages of making chocolate is in the Hall of Chocolate at Toms Chocolate factory. Here, the chocolate beans are ground together with sugar to cocoa mass. The cocoa mass is conched or aerated to improve the flavour - as we know it from wine. After this, the chocolate is tempered to make it ready to cast, use for coating or make dragées.
Dark chocolate has to contain at least 43% cocoa solids and at least 26% cocoa butter to be called dark chocolate in Denmark.
Milk chocolate is made by adding milk powder. The chocolate must contain at least 30% cocoa solids and 18% milk powder.
Made with love
Your Toms chocolate is the result of a loving journey; a travel full of good raw materials, sustainable cocoa farming, refined chocolate techniques and true craftsmanship. Enjoy it with a clean conscience.