1. The receipt of fresh beans

Once the fresh beans have been received at the fermentation centre, they are placed on a tarpaulin on the ground to check their quality. Beans are received only three days a week. The farmers must therefore plan the harvests, as fresh beans must be brought in within a maximum of six hours after harvest.

2. Weighing of fresh beans

The fresh beans are weighed. They must be brought in bags of at least 10 kg.

The pulp is still present because it contains the sugar necessary for the fermentation process. As a result, fresh beans weigh on average three times more than dried beans. The farmers therefore receive the price per kilo divided by three.

Logo Cocoa Act 4
Thanks to Cocoa Act 4, the producers of our cocoa beans receive a « quality » premium of 100 CFA Francs which is given to them directly when they sell their fresh cocoa beans to the Dolfin fermentation centre.

3. Fermentation

The fermentation of cocoa beans is an essential step in the manufacture of chocolate. Indeed, it is at this moment that all the aromatic potential develops. It occurs in three stages.

The fresh beans begin their fermentation process in the wooden boxes ‘A’. They are covered with jute bags and banana leaves so that the initial aroma develops as a result of natural chemical reactions.

The smell of alcohol is very strong at this point.

Duration : 2 days


After two days, the beans are mixed by moving them from tanks A to B. The cocoa beans then have contact with oxygen. The contact between air and alcohol turns into acetic alcohol. The fermentation cycle becomes aerobic.

A change in the external colour of the beans, from white to brown, can be observed.

Duration : 2 days


In the C tanks, the temperature increases and can reach up to 55°C. The internal colour of the beans then changes from purple to brown and a “Cut Test” is performed to make sure of this.

The darker the brown colour, the more fermented the beans. On the basis of a hundred beans, if more than 10% are still purple, they are brewed for the third time and one or two days of fermentation are added to the process.

Duration : 2 days

The total fermentation process therefore takes at least six days.

4. Sun-drying

The beans are placed on drying benches and must be aerated to allow air to circulate.

They again undergo quality control . The small residual skins are removed to prevent the fermentation process from continuing.

Duration : max. 11 days in the rainy period

5. Transport

Lastly, the dried beans are put into bags to be transported to their first processing location, where they are roasted at low temperature and then transformed into cocoa mass.