How Are Cocoa Pods Harvested?

Once cacao trees begin producing fruits, called cacao pods, those fruits must be cut off from the tree at peak ripeness.

Although there are heavier seasons, cacao pods ripen year round, meaning that harvesting does too. Harvesting cacao requires a sharp implement to remove the large pods from the tropical trees on which they grow. The most common tool used to harvest cacao pods is a machete, a long sword-like object which allows farmers to cut pods from the base.

Since cacao, or cocoa, can grow directly on the trunk of the tree, farmers have to use very sharp tools so as to not damage potential future pods.

When a pod is ripe it often changes color, signaling to farmers that it may be ready to be picked.

But not all ripe pods will fully change color, so some farmers also knock on pods to check ripeness; if the seeds have just started to loosen, then the pod is ripe enough to harvest.

You can also scrape the outside of the husk to check the color of the shell. If it’s green underneath, then it’s still not ripe enough to be harvested. If you remove cocoa before it’s ripe, it won’t continue to develop off the tree, but rather begin to germinate or ferment.

During harvest, farmers must be careful not to open the pods, as that exposes them to air and exposes the seeds to potential damage. Typically they’ll use the machete to cut the fruits directly from the tree, collecting them in a nearby basket or bag. From there the pods are brought to a central location to begin processing. The faster they can begin post-harvest processing, the better the cacao will taste.

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What makes Bar & Cocoa different?

At Bar & Cocoa, we're not just another chocolate shop; we're a chocolate experience. We meticulously curate a selection of the finest chocolates from artisanal makers around the globe. Our focus is on quality, ethical sourcing, and sustainability. We go the extra mile to educate our customers about the complexities of cacao cultivation and chocolate making through detailed product descriptions, flavor profiles, and origin stories. When you shop with us, you're not just indulging in a treat; you're becoming part of a community that values the art and science of chocolate making.

What is bean to bar chocolate?

Bean to bar chocolate is chocolate that is made from scratch by the same producer, starting from the raw cacao beans and ending with the finished chocolate bars and treats. This process allows the chocolate maker to control every aspect of the chocolate making, such as roasting, grinding, conching, tempering, and molding. Bean to bar chocolate is often more flavorful, nuanced, and ethical than mass-produced chocolate. It reflects the artistry and craftsmanship of the maker and the quality and origin of the cacao.

How do you source your chocolate? Is it ethical and sustainable?

We source our chocolate from award winning craft makers who use high-quality cacao beans and go beyond fair trade. We work with over 50 fine chocolate makers from around the world who share our values and passion for real chocolate. Some of the countries we source our chocolate from include Peru, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua,, Philippines, India, and many more. We are always on the lookout for new and exciting origins and makers to add to our collection.

Do you have vegan, or keto-friendly or soy free chocolate?

Yes, we do! We have a variety of chocolate options that cater to different dietary preferences and needs. You can browse our collections of organic chocolate, vegan chocolate, keto-friendly chocolate, sugar-free chocolate, dairy-free chocolate, gluten-free chocolate, soy-free chocolate, nut-free chocolate, and more on our website. We also provide detailed information on each product page about the ingredients and allergens of each product.

How do you pick your chocolate makers?

When it comes to selecting our chocolate offerings, we're basically the chocolate sommeliers you never knew you needed. Our process starts with rigorous research and tastings. Yeah, it's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it. We scour the globe for artisanal and craft chocolate makers who share our commitment to quality, ethical sourcing, and innovation in flavor.

We scrutinize everything from cacao origin to production methods and flavor profiles. Only the best of the best make it into our curated collection, offering you a world-class chocolate experience in every bite. Each bar has a story, a unique flavor profile, and the power to transport you to a different part of the globe. We're not just selling chocolate; we're offering an edible journey.