Quality of cocoa is determined by a combination of factors that determine the acceptability of the cocoa to buyer.The factors include:
- Proper fermentation, dried to proper moisture content (level).
- Free from mold contamination. Cocoa is graded on the basics of the count of defective beans in the cut test. The CUT TEST reveals the presence of certain defects which may cause off.
- Flavours and indicates the degree of fermentation of the beans which has a bearing on the flavor and quality of the beans.
The International Standards organization cut test procedure states that for a complete determinant of bean quality. Bean shall be opened or cut lengthwise through the middle, so as to expose the minimum cut surface of cotyledons.
Both halves of each bean are visually examined. Each defective type of bean shall be counted separately, and the result of each kind of defect shall be expressed as a percentage of the beans examined.
COCOA OF MARKETABLE QUALITY
- Cocoa of marketable quality must be fermented, thoroughly dry, free from smoky beans, free from abnormal or foreign odours and free from any evidence of adulteration.
- It must be reasonably free from living insects.
- It must be reasonably uniform in size, reasonably free from broken beans fragments and pieces of shell, and be virtually free from foreign matter.
MATERIALS NEEDED FOR EXAMINATION
- Cutting Knife
- Sample bag
- Stab Sampler
- Moisture Metre
SAMPLING OF BEANS BEFORE CUT TEST/EXAMINATION
Samples for Inspection and analysis should be obtained:
- FROM COCOA IN BULK, by taking samples at random from the beans as they enter a hopper or from the top, middle and bottom of beans spread on tarpaulins or other clean, dust free surface, after they have been thoroughly mixed.
- FROM COCOA IN BAGS, by taking samples at random from the top, middle and bottom of sound bags using, a suitable stab-sampler to enter the closed bags through the meshes of the bags, and to enter unclosed bags from the top.
- The quantity of samples to be taken should be at the rate of not less than 300 beans for every ton of cocoa or part thereof, provided that in respect of a consignment of one bag or part thereof, a sample of not less than 100 beans should be taken.
- For bagged cocoa, samples shall be taken from not less than 30% of the bags, i.e from one in every three.
- For cocoa in bulk, not less than five samplings shall be taken from every ton of cocoa or part thereof.
- IMPORTING COUNTRIES: In importing countries samples for inspection should be taken from not less than 30% of each lot of 200 tons or less, i.e, from one bag in three samples should be taken at random from the top, the middle and the bottom of the bag.
THE CUT TEST
- Random extraction of sample (Beans) from bags as indicated earlier.
- Thorough mixing of beans
- Sharing into three (3) equal pacts
- Take one third (1/3) or one part
- Count 300 beans
- Cut 300 brans lengthwise through the middle and examined.
- Separate counts shall be made of the number of beans which are defective; mouldy, slaty, insect damaged, germinated or flat. Where a bean is defective in more than one respect, only one defect shall be counted, and the defect to be counted shall be the defect which occurs in the list of defects.
Based on the count of defective beans in the cut test, defective beans shall not exceed the following limits: to be considered fit for export.
- Mouldy beans should not exceed 3% by count.
- Insects damaged, germinated, or flat beans (other defects) 3% by count provided that the defective beans so include shall not exceed five percent by count.
Cocoa which does not qualify for grade one (1) but which contains not more than 4% mould, 4% slate and 8% other defects by count.
GRADE III (Sub-Standard Cocoa)
All other cocoa which does not qualify for grade I and II, declared fit for export under rule 75 of CAP 185.
DEFECT SPECIFICATION OF COCOA
For the purpose of grading cocoa:
- COCOA BEAN: The whole seed
- BLACK BEAN: A cocoa bean with black cotyledons
- SMOKY BEAN: Is one having a smoky or hammy taste
- Insect-damaged bean: A cocoa bean, the internal parts of which are found to contain insects at any stage of development or to show signs of damage caused thereby which are visible to the naked eye.
- Germinated beans: A cocoa bean, whose seed coat has been pierced, split or broken by the growth of the seed germ.
- Flat bean: The Cotyledons are too thin to be cut to give a surface of cotyledon.
- Mouldy bean: A cocoa bean on the internal parts of which mould is visible to the naked eyes.
- Salty bean: A cocoa bean which shows a slaty colour on half of more of the surface exposed by a cut made lengthwise through the centre.
- Adulteration: The composition of graded cocoa by any means whatsoever so that the resulting mixture or combination on is not of the grade presecribed, or affects injuriously the quality or flavor, or alters the bulk or weight.
- Broken bean: A cocoa of which a fragment is missing, the missing part being equivalent to less than half the bean.
- Fragment: A piece of cocoa bean equal to or less than half the original bean.
- Piece of shell: Part of the shell without any of the kernel
- Light cocoa: Any parcel of cocoa of which a sample of one hundred (100) beans taken indiscriminately weights less than eleven ounces or whose 100 beans equal 100 grams i.e 100/100.
- Cocoa shall be stored in premises constructed and operated with the objective of keeping the moisture contents of the beans sufficiently low, consistent with local conditions. Storage shall be on gratings or decking which allow at least 7cm of air space above the floor.
- It should be clean, properly ventilated and dry.
- It floors of concrete or wood and sound
- The interior walls thereof are washed annually with lime wash, methyl bromide or other approved disinfectant.
- It should not be within 20 feet (6.1m) of a cesspit or latrine.
- All reasonable precautions taken to protect produce from deterioration caused by excessive heat.
- Contamination with odours of flabours or dust from other commodities, both food stuffs and materials such as kerosene, cement or tar, is prevented.
- Height should be appropriate for the storage of good quality beans.
Standardized bagged cocoa shall be so stacked on raised wooden pallets and a space of about three (3) metres provided between stacks to allow easy movement of ecaminer(s) and other workers. Sixty (60) cm must be left between the bags and each wall fo the building.
SEALING AND MARKING
After grading, each bag should be sealed with the individual examiner’s seal.
- Periodically during storage and immediately before shipment, the moisture content of each lot should be checked during recheck.
Stuffing requires the following materials:
- Cards for lining of container on both sides (walls)
- Dry bags/desiccant
- Container should be clean and dry.
TYPES OF CONTAINER
- Twenty feet (20’) and forty feet (40’)
QUANTITY PER CONTAINER
- Twenty feet = 200 standardized bags
- Forty feet = 400 standardized bags
SEALING OF CONTAINER
For the purpose of quality assurance, the Quality Officer at the time of sealing the container shall take/keep record of the container Number and Seal Number. This should be done in the presence of the officer (Examiner/Inspector)