From farm to fork, do you know how your mouthwatering chocolates are made?
From fruit-cacao-bean-chocolate confections, Manam Chocolates brings inherent flavours of Indian cacao from West Godavari farms to Hyderabad
HYDERABAD: Aiming to unlock the full potential of Indian cocoa, Chaitanya Muppala, a 32-year-old entrepreneur from Hyderabad, founded Manam Chocolates, an Indian Craft Chocolate Edition 2023. Muppala believes Indian cocoa deserves to be recognised as a major player in the global market, and he's determined to make it happen.
The journey of Manam Chocolates began when Chaitanya decided to work with the custodians of Indian cocoa, the cocoa farmers, to ensure premium cocoa products. Chaitanya believes that the key to unlocking the inherent flavours of cacao lies in the way it is fermented and dried. Conventionally, this has been done by farmers in a rudimentary manner, which is detrimental to the flavour of the chocolate.
Chaitanya recognised this pivotal role and decided to take complete control of these processes from the farm to fermentery to endless confections. In 2021, Chaitanya established the Distinct Origins Cacao Fermentery in Tadikalapudi, West Godavari. The cacao fermentation plant is the largest of its kind in India and estimated to be the second largest in the world. It is their state-of-the-art cacao processing facility, located amidst cacao farms owned by the cacao farmers.
Cacao farms in West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh
The process begins at the source, through its sister company Distinct Origins, where they partner with a network of over 100 member farmers cultivating over 1,500 acres of cacao farms in West Godavari District, AP.
The state is the largest cacao growing region in India as per the Directorate of Cashewnut and Cocoa Development. Manam Chocolate’s debut into the Indian market comes at a time when craft coffee and craft beer have started to make sweeping changes to the culinary culture of India.
Distinct Origins Cacao Fermentery in Tadikalapudi, West Godavari
Manam Chocolate uses science-based interventions and proprietary technology at its dedicated, state-of-the-art Cacao Fermentery, to develop, draw and deliver the best possible flavour from the cacao beans.
This has been instrumental in unlocking the previously unexplored flavours of the Indian cocoa bean.
After processing, these beans are shipped to Manam Chocolate Karkhana in Hyderabad, ready to be crafted into a world of chocolate. Manam Chocolate, an Indian Craft Chocolate brand, is a pioneer in the cacao pod-to-bean-to-endless chocolate confectionery segment, focusing on the entire process from farming to chocolate making to creating an ever-expanding collection of confections.
Let us walk you through the chocolate making process
No doubt you will want to try many of the delicious chocolates available at Manam Chocolate Cafe. But do you know about the long and hard process of chocolate making that leads to the delicious Manam chocolates cafe in Banjara hills ?
Chocolate making is a lengthy process that includes roasting, cracking, ginning, rolling, melting, pre-fining, ball milling, pressing the cocoa butter, conching and tempering before the chocolate reaches the chocolaterie.
After careful fermentation and drying at the Distinct Origins Cacao Fermentery in West Godavari, the cacao beans are stored for six to nine months to develop their complexity. The matured beans are then taken to Manam Chocolate Karkhana for roasting, a process that is critical to developing and releasing the full flavour and aroma potential of the cacao. The temperature curve is carefully calibrated to preserve the unique notes of the bean. They create an individual roasting profile for each batch to achieve the different couvertures desired by the chocolate maker. The roasting and cooling process takes 20-30 minutes per batch.
CRAVING & WINNOWING STATION
Each cocoa bean is covered by a thin outer shell called a husk. The roasted beans are cracked on our mechanical cracker and air cleaned at the same time to separate the shell from the cacao nibs.
Cacao nibs are a precursor to good chocolate and can be enjoyed plain, despite their natural bitterness. The shell is collected and reused as compost in our partner farms, which takes about 60 minutes per batch.
At this stage, the cocoa nibs are ground between three rotating, cooled rollers, transforming them into a powdered form with a particle size of ~50µm (microns). Roller milling takes at least 60 minutes per batch at the pre-refining room.
For formulations that require a coarser grind of 30 m, cacao nibs are continuously ground in idli grinder from Coimbatore for up to 120 hours. This slow process results in a thick, homogeneous mass known as chocolate liquor, consisting of cacao solids and cacao butter, and takes up to five days.
The semi-refined cacao is further refined in Italian Ball mill, where the friction between 10,000+ tiny metal balls brings down the particle size to < 20 um. This lends the resulting chocolate a smooth, velvety texture. Sugar, milk and cacao butter can also be dosed at this stage based on the desired chocolate formulation at the refining room.
CACAO BUTTER PRESSING
Manam Chocolates takes pride in being one of the only chocolate makers to make its own cacao butter. The chocolate makers at Manam fresh-press the butter from the same beans that they use to craft chocolate, ensuring a consistent flavour profile and creating a truly single-origin chocolate. The addition of cacao butter supplements the butter present in the beans to give it a well-rounded flavour and a viscosity that improves the chocolate’s workability.
The chocolate liquor is conched, i.e., mixed, agitated, and aerated overnight, ensuring that each particle of cacao solid is suspended in cacao butter to give the chocolate its desired flavour profile, which takes about 12–15 hours per batch.
Manam Chocolates carefully defines the right conche (continuous mixing and heating process to develop flavours and smooth texture in chocolate) profile for every batch to soften its primitive edge without tampering with the original flavour notes.
The chocolate is carefully cooled and reheated to perfectly crystallise it into Beta V crystals through machine tempering. Tempering is crucial in creating the three markers of a high-quality chocolate bar: its distinct snap, glossy sheen, and a consistency that doesn't melt easily.
The magic ingredient that is chocolate makes its way to the chocolaterie, ready to be enrobed, panned and moulded into an endless world of craft chocolate and confections, waiting to be discovered.
The FINAL PRODUCT
Conceptualised as annual editions, Manam Chocolate has over 45 categories reflected in 250+ unique products showcasing the true potential of cacao in a way that’s never been done before. Designed for gifting or for self-indulgence, the selection ranges from familiar to novel to experimental, hitherto unexplored in India; a whole new world of chocolate, waiting to be discovered.
After a long and tedious process, Manam Chocolates produces a wide range of delectable desserts, including Signature Tablets, Bonbons, Truffles, Nama, Barks, Fudge, Palettes, Rochers, Clusters, Macarons, Gianduja, Spreads, Cakes, Pastries, Viennoiserie, Hot and Cold Beverages, and a variety of bakers' ingredients. And a lot more.
Manam Chocolates is exploring the endless possibilities of Indian Cacao, offering unique experiences across 45 categories
Chaitanya Muppala, the founder of Manam Chocolates, showcased the versatility of Indian cacao in the Indian Craft Chocolate Edition 2023, offering over 250 unique experiences across 45 categories during the official launch of their products. The product ranges from familiar to experimental flavours, showcasing the true potential of cacao.
Chaitanya Muppala, Founder of Manam Chocolates
"Our Indian Craft Chocolate Edition 2023 demonstrates just how versatile Indian Cacao can be. We are exploring and exploding the endless possibilities of this magic ingredient that go beyond bean-to-bar. With a wide range of unique craft chocolate experiences, spanning over 250 concepts across 45 different categories, we are showcasing the true potential of cacao in a way that’s never been done before. Designed to be gifted or enjoyed by yourself, our products range from flavours that are familiar to novel to experimental - a whole new world of chocolate, waiting to be discovered, " said Chaitanya Muppala.
Chaitanya at Manam aims to create a truly Indian Craft Chocolate experience, crafted by Indians for India and the world. Their diverse range includes 60 percent dark chocolate tablet sweetened with jaggery and blueberries coated in caramelised white chocolate with toasted sesame.
Chaitanya, who's been working for the last 3–4 years to set up Manam, learned about the entire process of chocolate making said, "India has been growing cacao for over six decades, yet we are not known for fine-flavoured cacao. The reason - the bean’s poor fermentation and drying methods. One of the most crucial in bringing out the inherent flavours of cacao, these processes continue to be neglected. Conventionally, the farmer ferments and dries the cacao beans but they lack resources, infrastructure, and time. With nothing but rudimentary fermentation and drying practices, the cacao’s flavour development is irreversibly thrown off balance. It was decided to take complete control of this step, by setting up a Cacao Fermentery.
"Instead of buying processed beans from farmers, we started investing in the fruit itself and processing it at the Fermentery. Doing so also took a load off member farmers, giving them the time and energy to focus on nurturing their crops. The Fermentery has been monumental in helping craft the fine flavoured Indian Cacao and explore its endless possibilities. Over the past two years, extensive experiments have been conducted here, to revolutionise the fermentation and drying processes of Indian Cacao. At Manam, we are in pursuit of a truly Indian Craft Chocolate experience, born of Indian origin cacao, crafted by Indians, for India and the world, " he added.
"Manam is an evolved Indian craft chocolate experience where familiar Indian tastes and novel global preferences intersect. This diversity is evident in our vast range of products, from our 60 percent dark chocolate tablet sweetened with jaggery to our blueberries coated in caramelised white chocolate with toasted sesame. Our intent is to create experiences that are not only complex and nuanced but also delightful, like a great chocolate should be, " said Chaitanya.
Manam is expanding its Indian Cacao offerings with novel concepts in their signature tablet collection, including Single Farm, Single Origin, Creative Fermentation, Signature Blends, and Infusions and Inclusions.
Manam Chocolate which means 'We' or 'Us' in Telugu is a collective of passionate craftspeople: farmers, fermenters, chocolate makers, chocolatiers, and storytellers, united to usher in a new era of Indian Craft Chocolate™️, each bringing their own expertise to enable the journey of cacao from its origin as a fruit on a farm, to cacao bean to chocolate to confections.
As an homage to their farmers, Manam's chocolate tablet series showcased their dedication and exceptional craftsmanship by introducing unique and bold flavours celebrating our roots and the richness and diversity of different cacao origins in India.
Born out of their bold and unconventional experiments at the Distinct Origins Cacao Fermentery, these tablets are crafted with cacao that’s been creatively fermented with unique native ingredients. Manam tablets are made up of a range of native ingredients: diary, sugar, jaggery, oat milk, curry leaves, mangoes, raspberry, puffed rice, masala chai, mint and matcha, green pistachio, salted hazelnut praline, and many more.