Harvesting and drying

Just like in the days of the Aztecs, cocoa is still harvested by all producing countries around the world without the help of any technical devices. On the Ivory Coast, in Brazil and in Ghana, the fruit is cut directly from the tree trunk or the forks of the branches with a machete. The planters pour the contents of the cocoa fruit – the seeds and the pulp – onto banana leaves which are then folded upwards. The seeds and pulp now start to ferment. Following the fermentation process, the cocoa beans have to be dried. To do this, they are laid out on huge mats and left to dry in the tropical sun for six to ten days.


In the roasting machine, or “roaster”, the beans are put into large rotating drums, where they are roasted for 10 to 35 minutes at temperatures of 140 to 150 °C depending on the degree of roasting required.

Cracking and shelling

The roasted beans are now crushed in a grinder and the remains of the shells removed.


Because the fat from the cocoa beans – the cocoa butter – is still enclosed in the individual cells of the plant tissue, the cracked cocoa beans are ground in mills and rolling plants. During this process the cocoa butter is extracted from the cells and the hard crisp cocoa is transformed into a thick dark brown cocoa mass.


For the production of cocoa powder, the liquid cocoa mass is compressed in a special pressing unit with up to 900 atü. The clear, golden yellow cocoa butter drains off like sunflower oil, leaving the „cocoa cake“ which is then ground into cocoa powder.


To produce chocolate, the warm cocoa mass is now pumped into a mixing plant and blended with sugar and milk powder made from the finest Alpine milk and other select ingredients. This process takes around 30 minutes.


Because the mass obtained by mixing is still too coarse, it is now finely rolled in a rolling mill to produce a fine powder with grains of up to a 25 thousandth of a millimetre in diameter.


The powder does, however, still contain a number of tart aromas, so it is now “conched”. This involves filling it into large mixers known as conches. The word comes from the French (Conche = shell) and refers to the shell shape of earlier refining machines. During the mixing process, which can last up to 48 hours, the powder returns to a liquid form and the unwanted aroma substances evaporate.

And this is how all the delicious Milka products are created.