Quality of cocoa beans dried using a direct solar dryer at different loadings



In this study fermented cocoa beans were dried in a direct solar dryer at three levels of loading (20, 30 and 60 kg). Surface mouldiness was found to be heavy in the 60 kg treatment, with beans appearing blackish. All the dried beans were reasonably acceptable in terms of vinegary odour and weak in alcohol odour. Weak odour was also detected for the faecal, rancid and cheesy odours. The 60 kg treatment was rated strong for wet sock odour due to poor drying condition. A significant difference (P < 0.05) was found between the 60 kg treatment and the lower loading treatments for pH and titratable acidity. A cut test showed that the lower loading treatments resulted in a higher percentage of brown beans. The 20 kg treatment showed the highest cut test score, which is significantly different (P < 0.05) from the 60 kg treatment. Fermentation index also showed a tendency for lower loading treatments to have a higher index. No significant difference (P > 0.05) was found among the treatments in terms of cocoa, astringency, bitterness and sourness flavour notes. However, better flavour was observed for beans from the 20 kg treatment. No mouldy off flavour was found in any of the dried beans. Overall quality assessment showed that the 20 kg treatment was able to produce reasonably good-quality beans as compared to other loadings and therefore is recommended for the direct solar dryer. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry