If you’re reading this, your goal might be to buy some cocoa beans or be interested in finding buyers as a seller.
For some other readers, reading this article may be fueled by your desire to learn something new. Irrespective of where you stand, this article will be worth your time.
USA Cocoa Beans Buyers
Cocoa, a popular fruit of the cocoa tree, is known for its many benefits, including being a cash crop.
The dark brownish beans removed from the fruit are used for making chocolate, while the bean shells are often used as mulch material,
Here, the focus of this article isn’t to go into detail about the uses or benefits of the cocoa plan but rather to discuss the value chain created.
Cocoa bean buyers are critical stakeholders in the processing and utilization of this cash crop. Having said that, what do you need to know about cocoa bean buyers?
What Should I be looking at as a Cocoa Bean Buyer?
Cocoa bean buyers should be interested in knowing as much as they can about the product.
Such knowledge helps in making the right purchase decisions. The physical characteristic of the product is an important consideration to make before proceeding to make a purchase.
Speaking of physical characteristics, a lot of factors are considered. Such include moisture content, bean size & uniformity, the yield of edible material, and foreign matter with no commercial value.
Others include fat Percentage, consistency, and insect-damaged beans.
There are other factors like clumped beans and broken beans. Based on these physical characteristics, it’s evident that flaws in cocoa beans need to be closely checked to determine the quality.
The results of your assessment will determine whether to buy or not.
i. Moisture Content
Before buying cocoa beans, you should be interested in finding information about the moisture content. Processing companies typically require the moisture content in cocoa beans to be within the 7% threshold.
This is the approximate moisture level.
Any deviation from this can lead to damage through bacterial and mold growth. What more? This can affect other aspects like flavor, food safety, processing quality, etc.
ii. Bean Size & Uniformity
Bean size and uniformity matter as cocoa bean buyers must ensure they buy from the best stock. The weight of a bean should be approximately 1.0g.
The importance of bean size is seen in the increase in production capacity. Smaller cocoa bean sizes will require adjustments to be made to factory processes.
This leads to a drop in processing plant throughput. With that said, you might want to pay closer attention to bean size and uniformity when shopping for cocoa beans.
iii. Yield of Edible Material
How should the yield of edible material affect your buying decision? In more ways than you can think of.
One of the essential explanations is that the yield of the valuable part of a bean should determine its value. So, while inspecting your beans, ensure the amount of edible material or cocoa nib isn’t low.
Your buying decisions are better informed by knowing what to look out for before committing to a purchase. You might want to research more on this point for more clarity if you’re having difficulty understanding what purpose it serves.
iv. Foreign Matter with no Commercial Value
One thing that quickly reduces the value or quality of cocoa beans is the presence of foreign matter.
Now, two types: those with commercial value and others without. Overall, foreign matter will likely affect the flavor of products and serve as a source of contamination.
Based on such a reality, you must inspect your cocoa beans for foreign matter before buying.
The foreign matter with commercial value includes those considered cocoa-related, while those without retail value consist of stones, pod husks, shriveled beans, placenta, etc.
v. Fat Percentage
The fat percentage of cocoa is mainly related to its origin.
While that is true, the deviation isn’t that significant. If you have specific fat percentage requirements, you may have to determine whether a product meets such before buying.
By consistency, we mean that the quality of cocoa beans in a consignment from bag to bag should be similar. The same should apply to cocoa beans between different consignments of the same mark or origin.
As a buyer, close observation of the consistency of cocoa beans ensures your beans are of the highest quality. Manufacturers always prefer to use cocoa beans from origins or marks, maintaining consistency.
vii. Insect-Damaged Beans
Are cocoa beans damaged by insects?
It isn’t challenging to find cocoa beans infested and damaged by insects. These decrease in quality, making them less valuable.
As a buyer, close attention must be paid to the cocoa beans you choose.
Substantial damage caused by insects leads to loss of usable nib, thus making them worthless. You’ll have to inspect closely to find out.
As a cocoa bean seller, you must ensure your products are of the highest quality.
viii. Clumped Beans
Cocoa beans buyers are also interested in whether clumped beans or doubles are part of the collection. For the most part, these are mostly rejected.
This might be part of your objective as a buyer while seeking to find the best supply.
ix. Broken Beans
Broken cocoa beans result from a situation where the shell is too brittle due to less than 6.5% moisture content. Such disintegration is likely to worsen when the beans are transported or stored in bulk.
With excessive broken beans comes an increase in lipolysis, leading to free fatty acids.
Only Do business with Competent Sellers.
As a cocoa bean buyer, you need to be mindful of who you do business with. It’s important to always go with or transact with reputable cocoa bean sellers.
There are lots of these suppliers you can contact. Customer reviews will give you an idea of what to expect.
Being an informed cocoa beans buyer helps avoid costly mistakes many buyers make. This article has focused on providing valuable information that guides you toward making the right decision.