How Chocolate is Made: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelly Merrell

Shelly has a Master's of Education. Most recent professional experience is an educational diagnostician. Prior, she taught for 8 years.

In this lesson, you will learn how chocolate is made. Specifically, where the cacao tree grows, about bean pods, how they are processed and the basic ingredients of chocolate.

How is Chocolate Made?

Have you ever wondered how chocolate is made? Would you be surprised if I told you that it grows on trees?

Chocolate and cocoa are common ingredients you may have heard of. But, you may not know about the long process it is to make chocolate. Let's find out.

These pods are ripe and ready for harvest.

Chocolate and Cocoa Start with the Cacao Tree

The cacao tree is an evergreen tree, which is a tree that has green leaves all year. This tree grows well in hot and humid climates and develops small white flowers. Some of these flowers grow fruit called pods. These pods can grow as big as a football and are very hard to break. When they are ready to be picked, they turn yellowish-orange (maybe even red or purple depending on the type of cacao tree). A better way to tell is to shake the fruit to see if the seeds move around in the pod. If they do, it is ripe. When ripe, a person cuts them down with a large heavy knife and gathers them. This is called harvesting.

Each pod has cocoa beans inside. The pods are opened to get the 20-50 beans inside each pod. Some people say that these seeds taste sour. They don't taste like chocolate until they've gone through the whole process.

The Beans are Made into Chocolate

The beans are put in a pile or box and stirred. Then they are laid out to dry in the sun or in a shed. After the beans are dry, they are put into big sacks, which go to factories. At the factories, the beans are stored in large buildings called silos. The beans are then cleaned and then roasted. Cocoa is the powder made from the roasted seeds.

Silos are large cylinder buildings used for storage.

The beans are then cracked and then crushed. At this point, the cocoa butter is separated out. The cocoa butter is then turned into a chocolate liquid also called liquor (but this liquor has no alcohol). This liquid was once known as 'the drink of the Gods' during ancient times. We call a newer version of this liquid 'hot chocolate' or 'hot cocoa,' although we add sugar to our drink.

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