LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.


As the plantation owner turns the metal hand crank, the cacao paste falls into the tin container below the gears. (Photograph by the author. More about the photograph)

Because chocolate liquor has a somewhat bitter flavor and gritty texture, it will undergo a few more steps before it is consumed. The steps vary depending on what it will be used for.

To make cocoa powder, the chocolate liquor will be pressed under a heavy weight to drain off the liquid cocoa butter. The solids that are left will be cooled, pulverized, and sifted into a powder. To make chocolate for eating, sugar will be added, and then the mixture will be ground again to create a smoother texture. For milk chocolate, milk and more cocoa butter will be added, in addition to sugar.

In Barlovento, a locally enjoyed chocolate drink is made from boiling the ground seeds.