Nestle Cocoa

Great Tasting Chocolate Comes From Quality Beans

Follow the cocoa bean journey from the harvest to the sale to the co-op.

Better Cocoa


Better Cocoa

Join us on a journey to sustainable cocoa production. Learn how we’re helping improve every step, from bean extraction to sustainable certification.

Bean extraction


Cocoa trees only grew close to the equator – between 20° north and 20° south – and are quite fragile. They do well in temperatures of 20°C to 32°C and like plenty of rainfall. They are relatively small trees that like some shade and humidity so are therefore found on the lower level of evergreen rainforests.

There aren’t many places in the world where the conditions are right to grow cocoa. Well over half the world’s total production is grown in two West African countries – Côte d’Ivoire (39%) and Ghana (19%). Other countries which produce significant quantities are Indonesia (13%), Nigeria (5%), Cameroon (5%) and Ecuador (3%).

Most cocoa farming is small scale. Around 95% of cocoa is grown in smallholdings of less than four hectares (10 acres) and is typically a family enterprise, much as it was 100 years ago. The whole process of growing, harvesting and drying the beans is usually not mechanised.

  • Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Côte d’Ivoire


    Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Côte d’Ivoire

    Nestlé is working with over 70 co-ops and over 40,000 farmers in the Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Côte d’Ivoire. We have a research and development centre in Abidjan and have built an upcountry experimental farm and training centre. We are active in all aspects of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, particularly around producing new plants and our child labour monitoring and remediation system.

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  • Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Ecuador


    Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Ecuador

    Ecuador is renowned throughout the world for producing a special ‘fine’ cocoa called Arriba. It’s an aromatic, floral and spicy cocoa.

    Nestlé also has a large local factory in Ecuador, which processes beans, produces cocoa products for export and chocolate for the local market.

    Under the Nestlé Cocoa Plan initiative we are working with over 700 farmers, conducting farmer training, organising Nutrition and Health Information workshops and providing new plantlets of the original ‘Arriba’ variety.

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  • Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Indonesia


    Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Indonesia

    Indonesia is the world’s third largest cocoa origin, and the largest in Asia. One of the biggest challenges of cocoa production in Indonesia is combating the cocoa pod borer pest, black pods and vascular streak disease, which attack up to a third of the crop. Nestlé launched the Plan in Indonesia at a workshop in the cocoa port of Makassar in July 2011, in collaboration with the provincial Government of West Sulawesi and South Sulawesi in Indonesia, and we have trained over 5,000 farmers in Good Agriculture, Nutrition, Environment and Business Practices.

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  • Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Ghana


    Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Ghana

    Nestlé is working with over 10,000 farmers within the cocoa belt in Ghana. The farmers are being trained in the requirements of UTZ certification, and this covers improving productivity, health and safety, environment and labour standards. We have completed many social projects in the communities, including three schools, seven water pumps and several village resource centres (improving education with computers in schools).

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  • Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Venezuela


    Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Venezuela

    Venezuela is known for its fine flavoured cocoa. Over 20 years ago, together with the local cocoa industry, Nestlé founded an alliance called Aprocao. Aprocao buys approximately 30 to 40% of all cocoa grown in Venezuela – direct from smallholder farmers.

    From 2007 to 2012, with the support of Aprocao, Nestlé developed a Farmer Assistance Programme, where participating farmers increased their average harvest per hectare from 250kg to over 600kg.

    Since 1st January 2013, this programme has been implemented by Nestlé Venezuela with the support of an NGO called “Fundación Proyecto Paria”, training 960 farmers per year to implement agricultural best practices.

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From Bean To Bar

Great tasting chocolate needs good quality cocoa beans. This is how we make great chocolate.

From bean to bar, we believe in producing a product that benefits everyone. Learn how better quality beans mean more profit for farmers and great tasting chocolate.

Dried Beans
  • 1. Harvesting


    1. Harvesting

    In the big cocoa-producing countries in West Africa, cocoa trees produce pods all year round. The main harvest is spread over a period of six months, starting in September and peaking around November when the farmers are very busy.

    A second smaller harvest starts in April or May and continues into July. The whole harvesting process can therefore take several months.

    The harvested pods are opened to expose the beans. The pulp and cocoa seeds are removed and the rind is discarded.

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  • 2. Fermenting


    2. Fermenting

    As the sweet fruity pulp drains away, it ferments naturally. During this process, heat is generated. The heaps of cocoa beans are covered with more banana leaves to keep in this heat and protect the beans from rain.

    The temperature of the beans gets quite high, up to 50°C. The beans lose some of their raw, bitter flavours and the real flavour of cocoa starts to develop.

    After this fermentation process, which can take between three and five days, the beans are a rich brown colour but still wet to touch.

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  • 3. Drying


    3. Drying

    The moist beans are spread out to dry in the sun for up to seven days with frequent turning and checking for any spoilage.

    Fermentation and drying affects the quality of the beans. They need to be dried sufficiently to bring their moisture level down to as low as 8%. Properly dried beans lose about half their original weight.

    When the beans are dried, they’re ready to be packed into sacks to be sold and transported. Most go to ports for shipping overseas.

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  • 4. Cocoa To Chocolate


    4. Cocoa To Chocolate

    Once dried, checked and approved, the beans are transported to one of our factories. Sometimes this can involve shipping them halfway across the world. On arrival they’re checked again to make sure that they meet all our strict quality standards. The next step is to clean them thoroughly.

    The cleaned beans are then roasted. The roasting develops the chocolate flavour. That’s why the real skill in making good chocolate is to select cocoa beans from one or more origins and roast each origin to bring out the desired flavour.

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  • 5. Chocolate Bar


    5. Chocolate Bar

    The chocolate “liquor” is processed into chocolate by mixing in (more) cocoa butter and sugar (and sometimes vanilla and lecithin as an emulsifier), and then refined and tempered.

    It’s at this stage that our master chocolatiers sculpt and mould the chocolate into bars into the bars you buy and enjoy at home.

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