Common methods used by farmers to ferment small lots of wet cocoa beans are the heap and basket methods. However the quality of dried beans produced after such fermentation is variable as small bean masses are unable to attain and maintain the normal temperatures of 46-50°C as obtained during large, commercial fermentations. For fermenting small quantities of cocoa beans Mc Donald (1936) and later De Witt (1954) proposed a solar fermentary/frame, essentially a solar cabinet, in which hot, solar heated air is used to heat the beans held in wooden, sweat boxes or to reduce heat losses from such boxes. Quesnel and Lopez (1975) later recommended the use of insulated, styrotex boxes for fermenting small lots. These methods are brought together in this study, as a solar, cabinet fermentor/dryer 1.58 m (width) χ 0.90 m (height) χ 1.15 m (depth) with a 10° to the horizontal sloping glass cover was constructed and tested both for fermenting approximately 20 kg batches of cocoa beans placed in styrotex or wooden sweat boxes, and later for drying the beans on three drying trays placed in the cabinet. Normal fermentation temperatures were achieved over 7 and 8 day runs, while beans dried to the desired 6-7% moisture content over 6 and 9 day drying runs. Excellent quality dried beans (plantation grade) were obtained in this fermentation and drying system.


Downloads Statistics

Download Full History