The main ingredient in Choffy is chocolate. (OK the ONLY ingredient in Choffy is chocolate - Cacao bean more accurately). So Thought I should give you a bit about how chocolate is grown and harvested to eventually be made into the brewed chocolate drink Choffy.
Please note: All Picture on this page are taken by me personally and are copyrighted material. Part of the description of the chocolate processing is contained in the article on chocolate from Wikipedia available here.
The Chocolate Story
For the first part of the story about how chocolate becomes Choffy brewed chocolate drink, we must go to the tropics. On a vacation in St. Lucia, my wife and I HAD to visit a chocolate plantation in the shadows of the world famous Pitons.
This picture shows the chocolate/cacao pods growing on a tree.
Cacao pods are harvested by cutting the pods from the tree using a machete, or by knocking them off the tree using a stick.
Cacao Beans Removed from the Pods
The beans with their surrounding pulp are removed from the pods and placed in piles or bins to ferment.
This cacao pod is broken open so we can see what the chocolate beans look like. The pod is resting on a bed of chocolate beans that were set out in the "Drying" phase. This pod has been sitting out for a while. A freshly opened pod is very white and has a very thick creamy texture.
The fermentation process is what gives the beans their familiar chocolate taste. It is important to harvest the pods when they are fully ripe because if the pod is unripe, the beans will have a low cocoa butter content, or there will be insufficient sugars in the white pulp for fermentation, resulting in a weak flavor.
They are laid out on large tables that are used for drying, but before they are dried, they are pushed into the building shown in the picture to ferment. This "Fermenting Shed" can hold 5-7 of these very large trays.
After fermentation, the beans must be quickly dried to prevent mold growth. Climate and weather permitting, this is done by spreading the beans out in the sun from 5 to 7 days.
These trays are very large and can hold a lot of cacao beans. That is a lot of Choffy!
The Rest of the Story....
At this point, this is where the process of making Choffy and the sweet treat we know as chocolate separate. You can read the full details on the Wikipedia article above to get the scoop on the candy.
By the way, as a side note, this VERY small plantation that we went to told us at the end of the tour that their chocolate goes to a chocolate plant in Central Pennsylvania. Of course living in Central PA just 20 minutes from Hershey I shouted out a bit of a hooray!
Now to the Best Part of the Story....