SAN PEDRO, COTE D’IVOIRE, 2005. Drying ovens at SAF Cacao, a Lebanese-owned factory that is the fourth largest seller of cocoa beans in Côte d’Ivoire—after Cargill, Sifca (now Cargill), and Barry-Callebaut. Beans arrive from the middlemen (called traitants) who have warehouses in the countryside often with moisture contents ranging from 8 to 15%. The beans are dried in this oven down to 7% at which point they can be bagged up and sold. The ovens run at 180 °F. Most American chocolate is made from Ivoirian beans and it is logical to believe that most of the beans have been solar dried in the village, then dried at the traitant’s and finally at the buyer’s processing plant.
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