Tag Archives: hydraulic press

The Chocolate Process and the Inconsistency of Consistency

What are some descriptors that pop into your head when you think about chocolate? Smooth? Creamy? Velvety? Those are some of the feelings Dove wants you to imagine when you are viewing their ads like the one above which show gleaming liquid chocolate on and even comparing their chocolate to silk throughout. Though these are some of the modern connotations of chocolate, its origins were anything but. As technologies improved, the goal of chocolate makers moved towards smoother and smoother chocolate, that is, until technologies allowed for chocolate to become “too smooth,” after which consistency became more of a conscious choice by chocolate makers.

Evidence of cacao consumption dates back to as early as 1900 BC according to tests on pre-Olmec vessels found at archeological sites in Mexico and Central America. The word cacao is sometimes thought to come from the Olmec word “kakawa.” The Olmecs, whose civilization prospered from approximately 1500 BC to 400 BC, likely used cacao for religious and medicinal purposes. They were also possible ancestors of the Mayans who are thoroughly documented—primarily from the Dresden Codex—as having used cacao in many aspects of their lives. When the Maya consumed cacao, it was often in the form of a frothy beverage, often mixed with maize and spices. One technique involved grinding the cacao nibs with a metate, a curved volcanic stone slab. The individual grinding the nibs uses a stone roller with a curvature almost matching that of the metate. Then, while the nibs are being ground, small amounts of water are tossed in, creating a sort of cacao paste. When this is mixed with other ingredients in water, granules are still very much present and noticeable. There will not be any whole nibs, but particles will still be distinguishable. In the video below, at approximately the 2 minute mark, we can see a woman, affectionately referred to as Señora Ruiz, grinding roasted beans on a metate. Usually, the beans would be deshelled, or winnowed, which leaves only the nibs, but this is not necessarily a mandatory step. We can see that even after she grinds it into a “fine” powder, the cacao paste is still visibly granular. In addition, in the video, Señora Ruiz adds sugar—among other ingredients—to the cacao paste. Sugar was not introduced in Mesoamerica until the Europeans brought it over during colonization, thus the recipe that Señora Ruiz is concocting is, in fact, not a true ancient Mesoamerican recipe.

            The metate and other instruments like it were among the only ways to grind cacao until around the early 1800s as the industrial revolution ushered in new mechanized methods for refining chocolate past what was possibly by hand. The first major breakthrough in this was when Coenraad Johannes van Houten patented the hydraulic press in 1828. The hydraulic press allowed cocoa powder to be separated from the cocoa butter, “a peculiar mild fat…to the amount of 43 per cent according to Bousingault, and 53 per cent according to Lampadius” (Scientific American 3). Not only could this process separate the two which allowed the cocoa powder to become finer, the cocoa butter could then be added later in different quantities which alters consistency and texture. The same Scientific American article that described the proportion of cocoa butter per bean also outlines another new technology of the time, a granite cacao milling machine, “a machine consisting of an annular trough of granite, in which two speroidal granite millstones are turned by machinery” (Scientific American 3). This is yet another step in the road to finer, smoother chocolate. The technology is not immensely complicated. It is still, at its core, a stone that is grinding cacao, just like the metate, yet this machine can do the process more intensely, more efficiently, and with more precision.

            1879 brought the concept of conching into the world of chocolate thanks to Rudolphe Lindt (yes, the same Lindt as Lindt Chocolate). Conching involves the cocoa butter being re-added and the chocolate liquor being continuously turned in a large vat, evenly distributing the cocoa butter and any other ingredients that are added at this stage. According to F. H. Banfield, Director of Research at the British Food Manufacturing Industries, conching along with controlled grinding “can standardize the smooth-eating qualities of his product” (Banfield 299). It is interesting to note that in this article, he mentions chocolate as a couverture, in which the consistency matters a great deal as flow rate and viscosity are vital factors due to the chocolate not flowing evenly if it is too thick and draining off if it is too thin. Thus, consistency is not only important for the mouthfeel it gives a consumer eating it straight, but also with its performance around other food items.

           Lastly, an invention that debuted in 1912 but is still widely used to this day is the three-roll mill (or five-roll mill depending on the preferred end consistency). During this process, the chocolate liquor is run through a number of tightly spaced rollers that squeeze the liquor through, reducing its particle size. The more times this process is run, the finer the texture of the chocolate gets. Most chocolate makers today aim for 18-20 microns for their particle size. Particle size is a delicate balance. A particle size too large and the consumer can feel individual granules within the chocolate—which is not necessarily a bad thing and at times done intentionally, especially by more artisanal chocolate makers. A particle size too small and the consistency of the chocolate comes off as almost gooey. The video below shows the chocolate process as a whole but does a good job of describing the rolling process and its significance with consistency. Not only does it get the particles to a desired size, it shapes them into almost “pearl-like” spheres so that they roll, instead of sticking to the palette.

            In ancient Mesopotamia, the most advanced form of chocolate grinding came in the form of the metate resulting in cacao products and beverages with rough and gritty cacao particles. The Industrial Revolution was the impetus for many chocolate related inventions, the first of which being van Houton’s hydraulic press which allowed for the separation of cocoa butter from cocoa powder. The conching process, invented by Rudolph Lindt, allowed for a smoother chocolate by re-adding cocoa butter and thoroughly mixing the chocolate liquor. The final game changer with regards to consistency was the three-roll mill. It was this invention that allowed for the chocolate liquor to become not only fine enough where individual particles are indistinguishable by the tongue, but too fine to where the chocolate feels gooey. Whereas originally, chocolate consistency was a factor of the present technology, after many inventions and adaptations of technologies, consistency has become a conscious choice.

Works Cited

Banfield, F. H. “FROM COCOA BEAN TO CHOCOLATE.” Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, vol. 105, no. 4998, 1957, pp. 298–300. JSTOR.

“Chocolate.” Scientific American, vol. 8, no. 1, 1852, pp. 3. JSTOR.

Edgar, Blake. “The Power of Chocolate.” Archaeology, vol. 63, no. 6, 2010, pp. 20–25. JSTOR.

Lee, Owen. “Preparing Drinking Chocolate near Oaxaca, Mexico.” YouTube, YouTube, 25 Apr. 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlAg7zIR57k.

Mars, Incorporated. “Dove Chocolate Commercial – Senses.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 May 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwPwQ4S4op8.

Tasty. “How Chocolate Is Made.” YouTube, YouTube, 27 Nov. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPe1jMuX32s.

Fathers of the Milk Chocolate Bar

How the milk chocolate bar came to be during the industrial revolution.

US consumers prefer milk chocolate above all other types of chocolate. (Progressive Grocer)

Ask a random stranger on the streets in the US what is his or her favorite type of chocolate and the answer will most likely be milk chocolate. In fact, 51% of US consumers in 2012 prefer milk chocolate over dark and white chocolate (Progressive Grocer). This can be attributed to milk chocolate’s milder and sweeter taste compared to most other types of chocolate (“Cocoa”). Moreover, milk chocolate is an integral part of Hershey’s, Cadbury, Mars, Ferrerro, and Kraft’s flagship products, which account for the majority of the global confectionery market. However, milk chocolate bars are a far cry from the traditional chocolate in Olmec and ancient Mayan culture (where the origins of chocolate is believed to be): a frothy chocolate concoction containing cacao, spices, flowers, maize, and other grains. The industrial revolution in the 19th century played a critical role in the invention of the milk chocolate bar and its rise to popularity among the masses.

milk chocolate bars are a far cry from the traditional consumption of chocolate

Between the introduction of cacao beans to Europe in the 16th century and the industrial revolution in the early 19th century, chocolate was consumed in the form of a beverage brewed from roasted cacao beans with additives, such as cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and subsequently milk. Creating a hot chocolate beverage was a complicated and time-consuming process and usually occurred at chocolate houses. This changed in 1828. In the Netherlands, Coenraad van Houten leveraged his knowledge of hydraulic engineering and chemistry to pioneer the pressing and “Dutching” process to produce cocoa powder and cocoa butter (Miller). The pressing process reduces the cocoa butter content of chocolate liquor from 53% to 27% and the “Dutching” process treats the resulting cocoa powder with alkali for a darker and milder-tasting product (Coe 234-235). The resulting improvement in miscibility and mass-production of cocoa powder meant a hot chocolate beverage could be easily prepared and enjoyed by the masses in their households. Cocoa powder and butter would later become two key ingredients in many confectioneries, including milk chocolate.

Schematic of Van Houten’s hydraulic press. The apparatus applied force to extract cocoa butter from chocolate liquor and produce a cake that could be ground down to cocoa powder. (Van Houten)

The separation of chocolate liquor to cocoa powder and cocoa butter meant chocolatiers could better control and introduce new tastes and textures of chocolate. An example is Joseph Storrs Fry’s “Chocolat Delicieux a Manger” in 1847. Fry’s product was the first edible chocolate bar made from cocoa powder, sugar, and cocoa butter. The melted cocoa butter provided a thinner chocolate paste that could be casted into a mold and yield a chocolate bar. The popularity of the chocolate bar led to a high demand and price for cocoa butter, which made the chocolate bar a confection mainly for the elite. Fortunately, further refinement and industrial developments reduced manufacturing costs and allowed the general public to enjoy a blissful bite of chocolate (Coe 241). From drinking a chocolate beverage to eating a chocolate bar, the types of chocolate consumption increased to different forms with the advancements brought on by the industrial revolution.

The Fry’s chocolate bar was one of the first edible forms of chocolate in a molded shape. (Traynor)

“to make it more dainty, though less wholesome”

– DUfour, 1685

Soon thereafter, the chocolate paste recipe spread throughout Europe and captured the attention of Daniel Peter in Switzerland, where the first milk chocolate bar was born in 1879 (Coe 247). The earliest record of consumption of milk and chocolate together dates back to the 17th century, when milk was added to a chocolate beverage “to make it more dainty, though less wholesome” (Coe 169). In order to capture the “daintier” taste in chocolate bars, milk needed to be included in the chocolate paste before being molded into a bar. Yet, directly adding milk into the paste would introduce moisture and disrupt the solidification process of the chocolate bar. Peter tackled this problem with the help of Henri Nestle (the founder of Nestle) and his powdered milk. In essence, milk was evaporated down to a powder with large condensers, which was combined with the chocolate paste to form the milk chocolate bar (Coe 247). The machines used to produce both the evaporated milk and resulting milk chocolate bars borrowed many technological advancements from the industrial revolution. The milk chocolate bar had a milder taste compared to Fry’s original chocolate bar and became a popular chocolate bar across Europe, with multiple chocolatiers manufacturing milk chocolate bars.

Peter’s original recipe, which introduced powdered milk to a mixture of cocoa powder, sugar, and cocoa butter, led to the first milk chocolate bar in 1879. (Peter’s Chocolate)

Peter’s original milk chocolate bar recipe evolved over time, along with technological developments, to its modern day form. Nowadays, milk chocolate is still produced from cocoa beans, sugar, milk powder, and cocoa butter, but the manufacturing process is drastically different. Fermented cocoa beans are cleaned, roasted, and winnowed through machines. The resulting cocoa nibs are milled down to chocolate liquor, at which point the sugar and milk powder are added for flavoring. The milk chocolate mix is then passed through a refiner and into a conch, essentially a mixing device, along with cocoa butter to alter the taste and viscosity of the mixture. Finally, tempering the chocolate generates Form V crystals from cocoa butter, giving the solid milk chocolate the perfect melting temperature (slightly below body temperature) and a longer shelf life (Leissle 48-53). The entire process can be completed automatically through a series of special machines, which significantly reduces the price of a milk chocolate bar.

An overview of modern milk chocolate production. The machine-automated process is an evolution from the original milk chocolate bar production technique employed by Peter.

Within the span of 50 years, chocolate consumption transformed from a beverage reserved for affluent customers to a solid milky bar available for the masses. Van Houten made chocolate accessible, Fry made chocolate edible, and Peter made chocolate milky. Undoubtedly, there are many others (Lindt, Cadbury, Hershey included) who improved on the milk chocolate bar to its modern-day form, but it would not have existed without these three fathers of the milk chocolate bar. The $22 billion chocolate industry and many US consumers owe thanks to both the industrial revolution and these innovators for one of the best confections in existence.

Works Cited

"Cocoa." Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1 Nov. 2018. Link, Accessed 15 Mar. 2019.

Coe, Sophie D. The True History of Chocolate. 3rd ed., Thames & Hudson, 2013.

Leissle, Kristy. Cocoa. Polity Press, 2018.

Miller, Ashley. “Coenraad Van Houten.” Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University Library, 2007. Link, Accessed 15 Mar. 2019.

“Our Story.” Peter's Chocolate, Cargill, 25 June 2018, Link.

Progressive Grocer. "Chocolate Consumption Share in The United States in 2012, by Type." Statista - The Statistics Portal, Statista, 2012. Link, Accessed 15 Mar. 2019.

Science Channel. Milk Chocolate, From Scratch | How It's Made. YouTube, 30 Oct. 2016, Link.

Traynor, Kim. Fry's Chocolate Advertisement. Kirkcaldy, 7 Aug. 2013.

Van Houten, C. J. Method of and Apparatus for Discharging Press Boxes in Hydraulic Presses. 9 Nov. 1916.

Churning into the “Chocolate Age:” How Industrial Age Technologies Created a New Chocolate Era

You may be surprised to find out that the chocolate that we know today is a relatively new, tasty discovery- one that came about from the Industrial Age.

When the Industrial Revolution took place, the world revolutionized with it, and industries of all kinds were forever altered. The chocolate industry, still in the Mayan age, sprouted into a new field and its effects can still be traced today. The technology in the Industrial Revolution provided the tools to advance the field of chocolate, which allowed for mass consumption and commercialization, giving way to the “Chocolate Age.”

Chocolate’s “God-Like” Beginnings

Cacao was considered the “food of the gods,” and was treated as such: before the Industrial Age, chocolate was made the traditional way that the Mayans made it with a long, drawn-out process of cracking shells and traditional grinding to create a bitter chocolate drink (unlike the chocolate of today) (Szogyi, 1997).


Modern Mayan woman demonstrating how her ancestors

would grind cacao (Smithsonian)

This treat was considered to be a drink that was both a commodity and spiritual experience; although it was available to the masses, the wealthy certainly had more access to the treat because they could afford it. Cacao was taken as such a serious product that the Mayans used its seeds as currency; further, it was used to promote fertility and life, and cacao pods are found all over elite and ancient artifacts, temples, and palaces. Clearly, these uses and techniques demonstrate how luxurious chocolate was to them; these processes stayed this way even during the era of the Aztec empire and many centuries later (Horn, 2016 & Szogyi).

The Industrial Difference

This process of chocolate was so revered that it essentially did not change until the Industrial Age with a ground-breaking invention for grinding that used the newly-innovated steam and hydraulic process; in 1778, Doret, a Frenchman, invented a hydraulic machine that grinds cocoa beans into a paste (Beckett, Horn). Before then, the process of grinding was long and tedious and this machine allowed the process to become easier to create for the masses. Soon after, more inventions came along for grinding that further made consumption more popular. For instance, Dubuisson invented a steam chocolate grinder in France because it was even cheaper to replicate than Doret’s product, which allowed for an even higher level of mass consumption of chocolate. The Industrial Age created the environment to allow for this change – without steam and hydraulics, and the friendly and booming business atmosphere for support, Doret and Dubuisson would certainly not have been able to create these inventions. Where would be chocolate be today? One could reasonably predict that we could have eventually have had these technologies, but it is safe to assume that it would have taken the chocolate industry much longer to reach its glory.

The steam engine and hydraulic system are considered staples of this Industrial Age with new technologies across the boards for trains, factories, and buildings, but we can also appreciate how these technologies allowed for the advancement of chocolate technology. The value of chocolate significantly decreased because it was accessible to everyone; from here on, it was no longer an “elite” product or just a “food of the gods,” but, rather, a food for everyone. Thus, the Industrial Age that changed the world on so many fronts quickly churned into the “Chocolate Age” as well.

The idea of the mass consumption of chocolate from the Industrial Age can be traced along the later part of the history of chocolate. Quickly after the revelation with the cocoa beans came a new way to make chocolate an even more accessible product with commercialization – via “dutching” (Squiciarinni & Swinnen, 2016). In 1828, Van Houten, a Dutch chemist, invented a method to press cocoa by separating the cocoa butter by pressing it with alkali, making the matter soften up enough to produce cocoa powder, which was light and fluffy; unlike the current chocolate of that time, dutching made chocolate highly digestible, which would attract new consumers and open up a whole new market for chocolate – just like these technologies helped do so in other industries such as the construction field (i.e. making materials more affordable and attractive for building).

Van Houten’s cocoa press (World Standards)



Additionally, cocoa powder was the secret ingredient needed for the chocolate industry and companies to seamlessly make solid chocolate bars and coat them as well as bring in new flavors such as white chocolate. From there, a second wave of the Chocolate Age had been set and was about to take place.


A Second Wave of the Age – Mass Commercialization and the Chocolate Bar

With the mass consumption of chocolate from these new Industrial technologies came mass commercialization. Quite simply, we can see that chocolate companies would not be what they are today without this commercial influence; specifically, the dutching process sparked a spread of commercialization across Europe, which allowed for the worldwide chocolate industry we have come to know and love. For example, Cadbury, one of the largest chocolate companies today, and Joseph Fry (founder of what is known as Mondolez International today) bought the dutching press; these two companies are credited to be the first companies to create and sell the chocolate bar. They also made the chocolate bar a highly accessible treat with aggressive advertising; this marketing scheme raked in millions of dollars for these companies (Beckett, Horn). It was the catalyst behind the beginning of giant factories built to keep up with this demand.

Thus, the chocolate bar became (and still is) a symbol for a quick, delicious treat for everyone and anyone.


Fry’s chocolate bar packaging (Foods of England)

Moreover, the dutching system then inspired the chocolate exportation business that brought chocolate on to an international stage – a few decades after the start of the chocolate bar, the Van Houten presses became powered by steam engines, and, just like with the Dubuisson’s steam engine, came with another Chocolate Revolution. The mass consumption and commercialization of chocolate began in European countries such as Germany and France, which eventually led its way to the United States (Beckett, Szogyi). These countries then started their own chocolate giants such as Hershey’s and Nestlé, which embody the same mass consumption and commercialization ideals that have advanced the history of chocolate along and allowed it to further churn.

Without the Industrial age, chocolate would just not be the same. It is literally unrecognizable from its Olmec and Mayan roots. From the Industrial Age, the Chocolate Age churned on and on – all starting with the advancements in steam and hydraulics.



Beckett, S.T, et al. Industrial Chocolate – Manufacture and Use. Wiley Publishers: Hoboken.

Horn, Jeff. The Industrial Revolution: History, Documents, and Key Questions. (2016). ABC-CLIO: Santa Barbara.

Squicciarini, Mara P & Swinnen, Johan. (2016). The Economics of Chocolate. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Smithsonian. Retrieved from http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/power-chocolate-reveals-true-roots-celebrated-food

Szogyi, Alex. (1997). Chocolate: Food of the Gods. Greenwood Publishing Group: Westport.

The Foods of England. Retrieved from http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/chocolate.htm

World Standards. Retrieved from http://www.worldstandards.eu/chocolate%20-%20history.html




The Development of Chocolate for the Masses

Throughout the 1800s, the consumption of chocolate and sugar increased significantly. This was due to a combination of decreased sugar prices and technological advancements in the chocolate production. Sugar went from being a rarity to a staple of many people’s diets. This was important to the production of chocolate because sugar was and still is a major ingredient in chocolate. Several people also invented new machines and methods that made it easier for chocolate to be available for the masses. Without the decrease in sugar prices and these inventions, chocolate would not have become as important a part of society as it is today.

In 1828, Van Houten made one of the first big technological advancements in chocolate production by inventing the hydraulic press. The hydraulic press separates chocolate liquor into cocoa powder and cocoa butter. This made it both cheaper and easier to produce chocolate. “Van Houten’s invention of the defatting and alkalizing processes made possible the large-scale manufacture of cheap chocolate for the masses, in both powdered and solid form” (Coe & Coe 235). His hydraulic press is pictured below. It uses high amounts of pressure to separate the chocolate liquor. Without this invention it would have been much more difficult for further advancements in chocolate production to occur, like chocolate bars.


Thanks to Van Houten’s invention of the hydraulic press, another man named Fry was able to invent the chocolate bar. As Coe & Coe explains, “[w]ith Van Houten’s breakthrough, the Fry enterprise-and the Fry dynasty-was ready to move into high gear… A milestone was passed in 1847, when the Fry firm found a way to mix a blend of cocoa powder and sugar with melted cacao butter… this produced a thinner, less viscous paste which could be cast into a mold… this was the world’s first true eating chocolate” (Coe & Coe 241). Without the separation of chocolate liquor into cocoa power and butter, it would have been difficult to create a mixture that could have been combined in such a way. Below is an image of an advertisement for Fry’s chocolate bars. This image shows the shift from chocolate as something that only the rich might eat into something available for the masses, and specifically poorer families and children. Sugar and chocolate became a replacement for other foods as their prices decreased. The lack of time required for preparation also contributed to this.


In 1840-1870 there were big price drops in sugar. Mintz explains that “In the 1800s, the national consumption was about 300 million pounds per year; once the duties began to be equalized and the price to drop, consumption rose, to a billion pounds in 1852… Without the price drops, consumption could not have risen so fast” (243). If sugar prices had not decreased it would not have been so easy for chocolate bars like Fry’s to be made available to the general public. It is also interesting that “the biggest sucrose consumers, especially after 1850, came to be the poor, whereas before 1750 they had been the rich” (Mintz 148). This is especially important because part of the reason that chocolate is so popular today is that it is affordable for everyone. It is also interesting to note that Fry was able to produce chocolate bars around the same time that sugar prices drop. This likely would not have been possible without the drop.

In 1879, Rudolphe Lindt invented “conching,” which improved the quality of chocolate making (Coe & Coe 248). Conching led to an important improvement in the taste of chocolate. The taste and texture of chocolate that most recognize today is largely thanks to Lindt. As Coe & Coe explains, “After 72 or more hours of such rock-and-roll treatment, the chocolate mass reaches the desired flavor, as well as attaining a high degree of smoothness, due to a reduction in the size of particles. Before Lindt, eating chocolate was usually coarse and gritty; now it had achieved such a degree of suavity and mellowness” (248). A conche is shown in the image below. This specific machine was used at Hershey. The ridges and rollers pictured below create this “rock-and-roll” treatment. In some factories, like Hershey’s, there would be entire rooms filled with conche machines.


The production of chocolate was revolutionized thanks to the above inventions and the decrease in the cost of sugar. Without these things, chocolate would likely not be as pervasive in society as it is today.



Coe, Sophie D. and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. 3rd edition. London: Thames & Hudson, 2013.

Mintz, Sidney. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.


Multimedia sources:

Hydraulic press: https://i1.wp.com/www.worldstandards.eu/images/cocoa%20press.jpg

Conche: https://static-ssl.businessinsider.com/image/54b55341eab8ea0f7e55d9ab-960-720/this-conching-machine-was-once-responsible-for-mixing-cocoa-butter-into-the-chocolate.jpg

Fry’s chocolate bar: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b3/Fry’s_Chocolate_advertisement.JPG

A Worldwide Treat: The Increasing Popularity of Chocolate

In Baroque Europe, chocolate was linked with notions of status and class. The elite of Spain, Italy, France, and Britain consumed chocolate in the form of beverages and foods to flaunt their wealth. They used extravagant serving pots, cups, and saucers (like the one below) which demonstrate the importance of material culture during this time period. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, chocolate was popularized across many parts of the world as well as across various socioeconomic groups. The spread of chocolate can be linked to the role chocolate played in social interactions, to the democratization and industrialization of sugar, and to the inventions that made it possible to expand its production and the forms it took.

Silver chocolate pot used for hot chocolate, France, 1779.

When chocolate was first introduced as a medicine around 1100 CE, it was primarily used to cure bodily ailments, to stimulate the nervous system, and to aid in digestion (Dillinger et al., 2000). In the mid-1500s, chocolate became popular among the aristocracy and the wealthy in Europe. The breadwinner in the family was first entitled to meat the family could afford, but women and children consumed chocolate to supplement their scarce portions in order to obtain enough calories. The use of chocolate evolved from a luxury to a commodity as it became tied to social life. The first Chocolate House opened in London in 1657 (Loveman, 29). “Food and drink, not surprisingly, reflected [the] economic, social, and religious cleavages…chocolate was [characterized] as southern and Catholic and aristocratic…” (Coe and Coe, 200). Chocolate acquired new meaning in European countries as its consumption became highly social and symbolic of wealth. As people used chocolate to connect and interact with one another, its consumption took on new meaning, and its previous status as an indulgent good transitioned into a good that became worthy of the expense. Chocolate became more popular, and transitioned from a symbolic form of power to a democratizer as it became more widely available (Mintz, 91).

This photo was taken in 1777, and was likely the oldest surviving pub of Wavertree (which is located in Liverpool).

According to Mintz, “by no later than 1800, sugar had become a necessity – albeit a costly and rare one – in the diet of every English person; by 1900, it was supplying nearly one-fifth of calories in the English diet” (6). Over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the democratization of sugar occurred. Sugar decreased in cost and became easier for commoners to acquire through the use of cheap and brutal skilled labor of enslaved people. While there was opposition to slave labor, it allowed for the price of chocolate to fall. Its production thus expanded, and more commoners were granted access to this commodity. Liverpool and Manchester turned into gigantic cities as a result of “the exchange of their produce with that raised by the American slaves” (Merivale, Lecture 6).

During the nineteenth century, a number of inventions allowed for the further spread of the popularity of chocolate. The series of innovations began with the hydraulic press, invented by Coenraad Johannes Van Houten in 1828, which relieved the labor that was previously needed for grinding cacao. In 1847, Joseph Fry invented the first chocolate bar. A few decades later, Henri Nestle and Daniel Peter created milk chocolate (in 1867 and 1879, respectively). Finally, Rudolphe Lindt implemented the conching process in 1879, which allowed for chocolate to be blended and smoothed (Lecture 5). Through the implementation of these new machines and inventions, the mass production of chocolate became possible, as the taste and consistency of chocolate could be streamlined and managed in large quantities by its producers.

1950 hydraulic press, Wikimedia Commons.

While chocolate was once restricted to the elite in Europe, as it was expensive and inaccessible, it became popular around the world throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. First, chocolate became more widely consumed as a result of its social implications. Later, as consumers demanded chocolate as a necessity (rather than as a luxury good), people were enslaved to increase its production possibilities. Finally, new processes enabled its mass production as it could be streamlined and involved less human and manual labor. As chocolate became less expensive, technologies allowed for its popularity in the form of cakes and chocolate bars. Most recently, chocolate companies have turned to advertising to encourage its further consumption, often overemphasizing its nutritious value in the process.

Works Cited

Coe, Sophie Dobzhansky, and Michael D. Coe. The true history of chocolate. Vol. 29. London: Thames and Hudson, 2007.

Dillinger T.L., Barriga P., Escarcega S., Jimenez M., Salazar Lowe D., Grivetti L.E. Food of the gods: Cure for humanity? A cultural history of the medicinal and ritual use of chocolate. J. Nutr.2000;130:2057–2072.

Loveman, Kate. “The Introduction of Chocolate into England: Retailers, Researchers, and Consumers, 1640–1730.” Journal of Social History (2013): sht050.

Mintz, Sidney Wilfred. Sweetness and power. New York: Viking, 1985.


Chocolate pot: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chocolatepot.jpg

Coffee House Pub: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Coffee_House_pub,_Wavertree.JPG

Hydraulic press: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prensa_hidr%C3%A1ulica-Villajoyosa_(chocolate).jpg



The Influence of Public Scrutiny on Cadbury Business Ethics

Today, chocolate is ubiquitous: supermarkets and convenience stores keep shelves stocked with a variety of affordable treats to satisfy the sweet-tooths of shoppers, and almost every restaurant boasts at least one dessert appealing to chocoholics, from molten lava cakes to chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate has become a major component of holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day, assuring the exposure of people to this delectable indulgence from an early age. However, chocolate was not always the dietary staple it is today. The industrial revolution expanded chocolate consumption by increasing its affordability and accessibility. As their consumer base grew, chocolate companies faced extreme public scrutiny, forcing producers to forgo chocolate’s debaucherous past in favor of a more ethical, quality-driven future.

A typical convenience store’s chocolate display. (Garland)

 Lascivious Beginnings

The first Englishmen to come into contact with cacao were pirates looting Spanish ships returning from the New World. Authorized by Elizabeth I, these pirates were uninterested in the “strange, bitter seeds,” and one ship went so far as burn a shipload of cacao after mistaking the beans for sheep droppings (location 2333). Later, when chocolate made its formal introduction in the 1650s, the English adopted a far less cavalier opinion of the New World crop and readily integrated it into their bustling economy by way of coffee and chocolate-houses. Chocolate’s timely appearance in England allowed for immediate public integration: the English Civil War (1642-1651) reduced the power of the monarchy and transformed England into a country controlled by shopkeepers and enterprising private businessmen, allowing chocolate to escape the aristocratic confinement it had found in France (location 2413).

The gaming-room at White’s, aptly named “Hell”, served as the inspiration for the sixth plate of William Hogarth’s “A Rake’s Progress.” The men are busy gambling, oblivious to the fire growing in the back of the room. Notice the perukes (powdered wigs) that many of the men are wearing. These were expensive and associated with social rank in the 17th century. (Hogarth)

Chocolate was mainly consumed in public coffee and chocolate-houses, all-male establishments central to social life in London that charged a penny admission fee. Here, chocolate garnered a hefty price due to its high taxation by the English government as well as the time and skill required to make the delicious beverage (“London’s Chocolate House”). The high cost and later privatization of the chocolate-houses made chocolate a de facto drink of the wealthy elite.

One of the most famous chocolate-houses was White’s Chocolate House. Opened in 1693, White’s was originally public, increasing admission prices substantially by 1711 before becoming private in the middle of the 18th century. Known for lively political conversations, members included prime ministers, monarchs, dukes and earls. However, the wealthy members of White’s were known to take part in more scandalous activities than political debates: the high stakes gambling at White’s was notorious throughout London. The chocolate-house was known as a place where young noblemen were “fleeced and corrupted by fashionable gamblers and profligates.” In 1754, The Connoisseur, a London weekly newspaper, reported that at White’s, “there is nothing, however trivial, or ridiculous, which is not capable of producing a bet” (Coe, Location 3286).

Industrial Innovation and Increased Consumption

The conche, pictured above, is another innovation of the industrial revolution. Invented in 1879 by Rudolphe Lindt, the conche made chocolate less gritty which helped it transform from a drink to a solid. The conche in the picture above was used by Hershey in the 1900s. (Z22)

Industrial revolution chocolate innovation began with Coenraad Johannes Van Houten in 1828. His invention, the hydraulic press, allowed the defatting and alkalizing processes to occur more efficiently and made possible “large-scale manufacture of cheap chocolate for the masses, in both powdered and solid form” (Coe Location 3459). The press cheaply created a “cake” that could easily be ground into a fine powder called cocoa. It is with this cocoa that enabled the Fry firm to create the first chocolate bar in 1847. Debuted at a high price, solid chocolate quickly became within the reach of the public as companies like J.S. Fry & Sons, Cadbury, and Nestlé developed and perfected mass production and cost-cutting methods (Coe, Location 3476).

The industrial revolution not only increased the affordability of chocolate through innovation that allowed for cheap and efficient mass-production but also increased accessibility through its impact on retailing. In Medieval Europe, the buying and selling of food occurred in open marketplaces, where authorities actively prevented the use of middle-men. By the time Elizabeth I was in power, retail had begun to shift from open markets to closed shops, although urban authorities strongly resisted the move to retail shops in the food trade (Goody). However, with the industrial revolution came the growth of suburbs surrounding London. Industrialization made groceries essential and solidified the shift from open markets to retail shops.

This postcard shows a typical English market in 1905. The growth of retail stores decreased the size (fewer stalls) and frequency of open markets (once a week when this photo was taken) after industrialization. (Osborn)

Public Outcry for Ethical, High-Quality Products 

Cadbury advertisement shifts to focus on the unadulterated nature of its product with lines like “absolutely pure” and “no chemicals used” along with a source, The Analyst, to provide credibility. (Advertising Archives)

With popularity soaring, chocolate companies were tempted to increase their margins by selling adulterated chocolate. One of the more popular modes of adulteration significantly reduced the shelf-time of the end product by completely extracting expensive cacao butter and replacing it with olive oil, sweet almond oil, egg yolks, etc. Another popular method involved the inclusion of foreign materials like “wheat or barley flour, pulverized cacao shells, or even ground brick” (Coe, Location 3519). This inspired The Lancet, a British medical journal, to analyze food quality and a consequent study found that “39 of 70 [cocoa samples] had been colored with red ocher from ground bricks” and many had also contained added starch (Coe, Location 3528). Facing public outcry, George Cadbury admitted to adulterating Cadbury cocoa with starch and flour and the company changed its practices. In 1866, the company invested in Van Houten’s press and launched “Cadbury Cocoa Essence,” marketing it as the “UK’s first unadulterated cocoa” (Cadbury). This product increased sales, transforming the small business into a global company.

The final shift from the debaucherous past to the more ethical modern-day came in the early 20th century when Henry Nevinson issued a report detailing the gruesome slavery occurring in São Tomé and Príncipe, the primary cacao supplier for the major English chocolate firms (Satre). Cadbury became aware of this practice in 1904 after sending Joseph Burtt to STP on behalf of the company and almost immediately began searching for a new supplier, understanding that the company’s “good Quaker reputation” was largely responsible for their success. They waited until 1909 to announce a formal boycott, at which time public outcry had reached a high after an article was published in the British daily The Standard outlining Cadbury’s knowledge of the slavery . At the time of the boycott Cadbury had already found new cacao suppliers on the African Gold Coast.

Works Cited

Advertising Archives. “Cadbury’s 1980s UK Cocoa Drinking.” Fine Art America. 2013. Web.

Cadbury. “The Story: 1866 An Innovative Processing Technique is Introduced.” The Cadbury Company, UK. Web.

Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996. Kindle edition.

Garland, Leslie. “858.01.14”. The Image File. Web. 2015.

Goody, Jack. “Industrial Food: Towards the Development of a World Cuisine”. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2013 [1982].

Hogarth, William. “File:William Hogarth – A Rake’s Progress – Plate 6 – Scene In A Gaming House.Jpg”. Wikimedia Commons. 1735. Web.

“London’s Chocolate Houses”. The Herb Museum. Web.

Martin, Carla D. “AAS E-119 Lecture 6: Slavery, abolition, and forced labor.” 2016. Lecture.

Osborn, Bob. “Yeovil’s Markets”. The A-to-Z of Yeovil’s History. 2015. Web.

Satre, Lowell. Chocolate on Trial: Slavery, Politics, and the Ethics of Business. Athens: Ohio University Press. 2005.

Z22. “File:Granite Roller and Granite Base of a Conche.jpg”. Wikimedia Commons. 2014.

Change Over Time- How Technology Has Made Chocolate Nearly Ubiquitous

With Easter soon approaching, chocolate seems to be absolutely everywhere.  It’s shaped into bunnies, eggs, carrots, and countless other forms, all of varying cost and quality.  Yet low-cost chocolate wasn’t always omnipresent.  It used to be a luxury, one that required lots of labor to prepare.  As a result it often “reigned supreme in the courts of Spain’s Habsburg rulers” as well as in the homes of other royalty and elites (Coe Location 1932).  This all changed when the industrial revolution modernized production of all types of goods across Europe, from sugar to textiles.  The need for a consistent, low cost product during the industrial revolution led to the first introduction of new techniques and machinery, still used today, that made the production of chocolate economically feasible on such a large, international scale.

The first key invention which revolutionized chocolate production was the introduction of the hydraulic press by Conrad Van Houten in 1828 (Presilla 39).  In this process, chocolate liquor is introduced to a small cylinder, which is then subject to tremendous force.  This action squeezes out nearly all of the fat from the chocolate liquor, separating the cocoa butter and leaving a neat round puck of pure cocoa powder.  Each ingredient could be used for its own food-making purposes, or combined in specific quantities to create a palatable eating chocolate (Presilla 40).

The video below shoes this process in action on a modern, small-scale machine.  At this stage, the cacao beans have already been roasted, winnowed, and ground.  Automatic computer controls allow the press to extract the maximum amount of cocoa fat from the product, leaving behind a dry, compressed disk.  On an industrial scale, we could expect these presses to be much larger in size.

A second key invention to making chocolate cheaper and more appealing to the mass customer was the development of the conch by Rodolphe Lindt in 1879 (Presilla 40).  With this machine manufacturers were able to increase the smoothness of the final product, which made it much more conducive to both melting in your mouth and inclusion in pastries and other deserts (Presilla 41).  In this process large stone rollers would continuously grind the chocolate for hours on end, reducing the particle sizes to incredibly small levels.  When combined with Van Houten’s press, chocolate makers were suddenly able to produce a much higher quality, cheaper, and more consistent product which made it perfect for mass consumption.

This process of automation and innovation continues through the present day.  Although the Industrial Revolution originally introduced many of these techniques and machines, computers have allowed us a level of control, speed, and precision that we haven’t been able to achieve until now.  Automated sorting machines like the one in the first video below allow companies to reject unsuitable product with a speed that would simply be unattainable by hand.  These machines can sort nearly any food product, from peas to whole cacao beans down to individual nibs based on a variety of different factors (Buhler Group). In the second video, we see how precise temperature and tempering time can vary by recipe, and how a computerized process allows us to produce the highest quality product with the least amount of effort.  With computerized automation, chocolate manufactures have built on the inventions introduced in the Industrial Revolution and supersized them, allowing for a more consistent product at a much lower price.

As the availability of sugar grew and the general population got their first tastes of chocolate, the market for this delicious product began to grow.  As a result, manufactures were looking for ways to improve the consistency and quality of their product without raising costs.  Necessity is said to be the mother of invention, and soon new techniques were introduced to the world of chocolate making.  These machines and processing methods allowed companies such as Cadbury and Hershey to increase the quantity of product sold without a corresponding jump in price.  As technology has continued into the modern day, computers have allowed manufacturers to improve this process of cost-saving production increase at an even more rapid pace.  At the end of the day, a consistent product with a healthy profit margin is what matters to manufacturers and people around the world will continue inventing and innovating to make that happen.

Works Cited:

“Chocolate Sorting.” Buhler Group. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. <http://www.buhlergroup.com/global/en/process-technologies/optical-sorting/confectionary-sorting/chocolates.htm&gt;.

Coe, Sophie D., Michael D. Coe, and Ryan J. Huxtable. The True History of Chocolate. London, Thames and Hudson, 1996, 2007, 2013. Kindle Edition.

Presilla, Maricel E. The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes. Random House LLC, 2009.

Media Sources:

Video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxDJZaH5YxU

Video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DogZJmThRSE

Video 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScQRVyAP5ZY

The Chocolate Revolution

It is often said that men and women of genius credit their accomplishments by standing on the shoulders of giants. The history of chocolate has progressed in a similar manner, in which pioneers would draw inspiration from other inventors to create a new process or refine an existing one. As such, chocolate has seen a remarkable metamorphosis from an expensive drink catered to the elite to a cheap solid available to the masses. Technological advances following the Industrial Revolution in various countries caused a rapid evolution in chocolate production techniques, which subsequently shifted the socioeconomic status of chocolate to a more freely available and accessible one for the masses.

There were a host of factors that led to the rise in popularity in chocolate. From the sudden spike in intake of sugar in Europe to the fact that no one believed in the humoral scheme or therapeutic effects of chocolate (meaning anyone could eat it), various considerations led to the increase in consumption of chocolate. However, these factors paved the path as to how chocolate would be consumed henceforth: as a candied product of confectionery and desserts. As such, “candies reigned supreme, and gave rise to the great chocolate fortunes of Holland, England, Switzerland, and, eventually, the United States” (Coe 234).

Van Houten paved the way for future innovators of the chocolate era in 1828 with a revolutionary invention and process. The Van Houten hydraulic press sought to manufacture a powdered chocolate with a low fat content. This invention coupled with the alkalizing process of “dutching” allowed for the large-scale manufacturing of powdered and solid chocolate for the masses. Many chocolate companies and producers utilized his hydraulic press and alkalizing process to further the production and development of their own chocolate products.

Van Houten Hydraulic Press — forever changed the production of chocolate moving forward

In 1847 another milestone was passed in England when the J.S. Fry & Sons Company discovered a method to mix a blend of cocoa powder and sugar with melted cacao butter, producing a “thinner, less viscous paste which could be cast into a mold. The resulting chocolate bars, which they named ‘chocolat Délicieux à Manger’ became the world’s first true eating chocolate (Coe 241). By the economic principles of supply and demand, this produced an effect where solid eating chocolate became a luxury for the elite while cocoa powder became more of a staple for the masses. Although production techniques limited rapid manufacturing of these chocolate initially, the cheaper and mass producing methods implemented by companies in the United States soon fixed this problem.

Chocolate made major leaps forward in terms of taste of product in Switzerland with the development of milk chocolate and the conche. Milk chocolate was notably a collaboration between two men.The first was Henri Nestlé, a Swiss chemist who in 1867 discovered a process to make powdered milk by evaporation (Coe 246). The second was Daniel Peter, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer who used Nestlé’s powder in the creation of a new kind of chocolate, and in 1879, the first milk chocolate bar was produced (Coe 247). In the very same year Rudolphe Lindt invented the conche, and the quality of chocolate confectionery was forever changed. The conche repeatedly rolls over chocolate, seeking to preserve flavor while attaining a high degree of smoothness, due to a reduction in the size of particles (Coe 248). Prior to Lindt’s invention, it was widely accepted that chocolate would be relatively gritty and uneven to consume, but it has subsequently produced a standard which the masses demanded.

A Sign at Hershey, Pennsylvania

When America came to join the other European chocolate giants in the Colosseum of chocolate production, they came to win. Milton Hershey created the Hershey Chocolate Factory,  which forever changed the world of chocolate by successfully mass producing it on a global scale. By the late 1920s 50,000 pounds of Hershey’s Cocoa was being produced every day (Coe 252). His reputation as “the Chocolate Man” was spurred on by the larger American public who expected a candy maker who “turned a luxury item like milk chocolate into a five-cent treat for the masses to be a kind of Santa Claus, distributing happiness in a wrapper” (D’Antonio 114). As a testament to his success, he was able to create an entire town of people, jobs, and lifestyle surrounded around his company in Hershey, Pennsylvania, demonstrating that chocolate had come full circle in being a product of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Works Cited

Clevlen, Bill. “Hershey Pennsylvania | Bill On The Road.” Bill On The Road RSS. N.p., 16 Jan. 2015. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.

Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. 3rd ed. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2013. Print.

D’Antonio, Michael. Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and

Utopian Dreams. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. Print.

“The World of Chocolate.” The World of Chocolate. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.

Innovation and Chocolate Consumption: How Manufacturing Created Today’s Demand for Chocolate

Beginning in the 1800s, chocolate consumption increased exponentially due to innovations in chocolate production. These manufacturing innovations were not the result of increased demand, but rather were the cause of increased consumption, making chocolate production a very lucrative business and ultimately the popular food that it is today.

Van Houten cacao proef blikje, foto1
Van Houten’s cocoa powder can from 1828
In 1828, Coenraad Johannes Van Houten was responsible for creating an easier way to remove cacao butter by using a hydraulic press to remove twice as much cacao butter and make cocoa powder. He also processed cocoa with alkali (now called Dutch processing because he was in Holland) so it would be more easily mixed with water, which enabled the large-scale production of both cocoa powder and drinking cocoa, allowing it to be sold to the masses for a cheaper price (Coe and Coe 234), thereby increasing chocolate consumption.

In 1847, armed with Van Houten’s invention of the hydraulic press, one of England’s Quaker chocolate manufacturing company, J. S. Fry & Sons, was able to create the first solid “eating chocolate” by re-combining the cacao butter with cocoa powder and sugar (Martin). Now this bar was for the elite because it contained pricey cacao butter, while the drinking chocolate was now for the masses (Coe and Coe 241). This is an example of how society’s consumption of chocolate changed due to innovations in manufacturing.

When Cadbury’s, another Quaker chocolate company in Britain, got hold of Van Houten’s hydraulic press in 1866, they too began to produce their own cocoa powder and even introduced the first box of chocolates (Coe and Coe 242). This revolutionized the way cocoa was used in the world of confections, and by way of making chocolate more available, these new products increased the consumption and demand for chocolate – not only was chocolate cheaper, but it was now easier to eat.

To follow these new manufacturing practices, we must slide our gaze over to Switzerland in 1867: Henri Nestle invented powdered milk, and Daniel Peter added this to the chocolate bar to create the world’s first milk chocolate in 1879. That same year, Rudolphe Lindt invented the conching process which yielded a much smoother chocolate through grinding and heat (Martin). This video shows a present-day depiction of this chocolate making process:

Toblerone Bars
Toblerone bars, the first to be molded and filled with nougat, are still sold today

Followed by Jean Tobler’s 1899 creation of the Toblerone bar, the first filled and molded chocolate of its kind, these inventions put the Swiss on the map in terms of revolutionizing chocolate manufacturing processes (Martin). These innovations allowed milk chocolate to become popular, so popular in fact that it is still the most popular type of chocolate today.

Meanwhile, in America, Milton Hershey had also purchased Van Houten’s press and began making his own chocolates in Pennsylvania, eventually building his very own factory town to produce his famous milk chocolate (Coe and Coe 251).

Granite Roller and Granite Base of a Conche
Conche used by Hershey’s in the early 1900s.
Hershey may have borrowed techniques and machines from those that came before him, but he revolutionized the way confectioners made chocolate by focusing on producing large quantities of fewer products rather than many different products. This decreased costs enough so that more stores could carry Hershey’s Kisses and bars, thereby making it well-known (and more in demand). This strategy allowed his sales to increase by $1.4 million between 1911 and 1912 (D’antonio 121), proving that innovations in chocolate production led to increased consumption.

Ultimately, the smooth, tempered, milk chocolate that is so popular today would not have been possible without new manufacturing practices that began over 150 years ago. It was these inventions – the hydraulic press, conching, and more – that have allowed chocolate to be mass-produced and highly craved by so many of us today.


Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. “The True History of Chocolate”. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996. Print.

D’antonio, Michael. “Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams”. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006. Print.

DancityMachinery. “Chocolate Making Machinery” Video. YouTube, 20 Dec 2011. Web. 12 March 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oaUeAg1Ezg&gt;.

Martin, Carla D. “Popular sweet tooths and scandal.” Chocolate, Culture, and the Politics of Food. Harvard Extension School: Cambridge, MA. 25 Feb. 2015. Class Lecture.

By Z22 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Alf van Beem (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By WestportWiki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Industrial Revolution? Chocolate Revolution!

Once the Europeans discovered chocolate, its accessibility remained limited to the elite for years before the Industrial Revolution occurred. Chocolate was extremely expensive to grow and process, and so only those wealthy enough to afford the costs that went into preparing and making chocolate were able to consume it on a regular basis. But with the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the resulting mechanization of the many processes within the production of chocolate, it was able to spread beyond the elite and into the general population. Advancements made by the hydraulic press, the conching process, and the assembly line method of production transformed chocolate’s former status as an economic class divider into a staple of the diet of the widespread masses.

Before the Industrial Revolution, for “at least 28 centuries, chocolate had been a drink of the elite and the very rich” (Coe & Coe 232). The consumption of chocolate after it arrived in Europe was not a hassle-free experience, since “both the making and the drinking involved special pains and paraphernalia” (Presilla 25). Preparing chocolate required a fair amount of equipment, like the Mexican metate and molinillo, and the elite served chocolate in silverware like Spanish mancerinas and French chocolatiers, all of which were extremely expensive to own in the first place. Furthermore, there were whole kitchens devoted to the process of preparing chocolate for consumption, as was seen through a restoration at the Hampton Court Palace.

Dry ingredients like spices and nuts were added to the mixture, which did not help widen chocolate’s accessibility. It wouldn’t be until manufacturers moved away from expensive equipment that chocolate would become a more common good.

The modern era of chocolate making and production began with the invention of the cocoa press, a hydraulic press that squeezed out cocoa butter and left behind cocoa powder. This mechanized separation, invented by van Houten in 1828, made possible the “large-scale manufacture of cheap chocolate for the masses, in both powdered and solid form” (Coe & Coe 235). Now, chocolate manufacturers could efficiently process chocolate liquor produced from the cacao nibs, but in a very large scale. In 1847, Joseph Storrs Fry made another essential discovery that advanced mass chocolate production. He mixed a blend of cocoa powder and sugar together with melted cocoa butter, which produced a thinner paste that could be cast into a mold (Coe & Coe 241). By this point, these inventions had speeded up methods in both the cacao processing as well as the chocolate manufacturing parts of the entire process. Large-scale producers could efficiently process the raw ingredient and mechanize the creation of the chocolate bar, which would soon be popularized in the masses.

Another part of the manufacturing process was in fact inspired by the metate. In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt invented the conching process, which produced chocolate with a smoother consistency and a rather significant flavor alteration, due to the addition of heat while conching. It is interesting to note that a final crucial advancement in chocolate manufacturing didn’t require an entirely new invention, but instead the “adaptation of simple machinery for producing standard goods on a larger scale” (Goody 81). Hershey’s adaption of the assembly line method in his own chocolate factories, as seen in the image below, vastly increased production and he was therefore able to produce a large quantity of chocolate every day of production.

Assembly line production in a Hershey factory, 1936

The process of chocolate manufacturing has evolved into a highly mechanized process, which would not have been possible without the advancements from late 1800s and early 1900s. This process shown for the making of chocolate bars very much follows the overall structure of an assembly line, with the chocolate being processed through the inventions of the cocoa press and the conching process.

Process for making a chocolate bar!

With these advances, chocolate could now be produced on a huge industrial scale and at relatively cheaper costs. The different advances in various steps of chocolate production during the Industrial Revolution began the transformation of chocolate from an exquisite luxury to the easily affordable snack that it still is today. The elitist luxury was spread to thousands of consumers; without the cocoa press, the conching method, or the large-scale factory production of chocolate, it would not have been possible for chocolate to become a daily commodity for consumers of any socioeconomic class.

Works Cited
– Archives, Hershey Community. Hershey assembly line. Digital image. Explore PA History. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://explorepahistory.com/displayimage.php?imgId=1-2-127F.
– Chocolate Bar-making Process. Digital image. Celebrating a Soy-Free Easter with Amedei Chocolate. HubPages, 28 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://infonolan.hubpages.com/hub/Celebrating-a-Soy-Free-Easter-with-Amedei-Chocolate.
– Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996. Print.
– Goody, Jack. 2013[1982]. “Industrial Food: Towards the Development of a World Cuisine.” pp. 72-88.
– Presilla, Maricel E. The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes. Berkeley: Ten Speed, 2001. Print.
– “The Making of the Chocolate Kitchen.” YouTube. YouTube, 3 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QslIjfi_-I.