Cocoa processing begins by grinding the cocoa beans to liquefy the cocoa butter inside them. This first phase of the process produces a thick paste called cocoa mass or cocoa liquor. The cocoa mass is then softened and pressed to extract the cocoa butter. The part remaining after pressing, called the cocoa cake, can be turned into cocoa powder in a further grinding process. Processing cocoa beans therefore produces the cocoa butter and cocoa powder, which are then mixed with other ingredients to make chocolate.
The grinding machine is used in the pre-grinding of cocoa beans. The cocoa beans are placed in the grinding chamber consisting in a wedge wire screen cylinder with axial openings and some vanes. The beans are then ground with the rotating movement of the vanes. The ground product is then filtered through the wedge wire screen cylinder which retains the more solid part and lets the cocoa liquor flow through, to be then transferred to the next treatment stages.
Distinctive characteristics of the VICO-Screen for grinding machines are:
- High precision and continuous openings
- Long lasting, thanks to the material used, generally stainless steel, and high mechanical strength.
- Lower risk of clogging because of the geometry of the wire
Costacurta’s wire cloth filtering discs are used in the cocoa liquor pressing process. The machines used in this process are cocoa presses. These are hydraulic presses that compress the cocoa liquor at a high pressure against a metal filter disc. The high pressure causes the cocoa butter to liquefy, which is then separated by the filtering disc and collected. The result of this pressing is the separation of the liquid cocoa butter from the cocoa cake.
The wire cloth filtering discs produced by Costacurta are plasma cut so as to considerably reduce the risk of portions of wire escaping. The use of suitable raw material also allows the machine operator, thanks to the action of special magnets, to remove any metal particles present in the cocoa powder.
Distinctive characteristics of the Costacurta filtering discs for cocoa presses are:
- High quality of the material used
- Quality of the finished product thanks to the meticulous quality controls on the cloth used and the dimensions of the filtering disc