CocoaSafe
Storage of cocoa beans
Fermented cocoa beans are normally stored as whole beans in jute bags of 150 lb, and can be safely kept for 5 to 6 months.

Problems during storage

During storage, the packed cocoa beans can be affected by:
  • Pest infestation. The common pests are the cocoa moth (Ephestia cautella), the flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum), the rice moth (Corcyra cephalonica) and the tobacco beetle (Lasioderma serricorne), and rats.
  • Humid conditions. Cocoa beans are hygroscopic - high tendency to absorb moisture from the air. Trade standards only allow a moisture content of 7%.
  • Mould contamination. Humid conditions promote the growth of moulds in the beans, which results in higher free fatty acids (FFA) content. Trade standards for quality processed cocoa butter only allows for 1% FFA content. Higher FFA content affects the flavor of the cocoa butter.

Good storage and warehousing practices

Some of the problems listed above can be mitigated by:
  • Lining jute bags with low density polyethylene vinyl alcohol / linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE/EVOH/LLDPE), oriented nylon / polyethylene (ONY/PE), oriented polypropylene / polypropylene (OPP/PP)
  • Ensuring that the warehouse is well ventilated and well lit, and that the bags are kept away from sources of humidity. Place insect netting over any open vents.
  • Stacking the packed jute bags on pellets to reduce direct floor contact, and consequently infestation by pests. The stacks should be placed at a minimum level of 16 cm from the floor and 1 m away from the ceiling.
  • Fumigating storage facilities with methyl bromide or aluminum phosphide

References

Coffee and Cocoa International
Malaysian Cocoa Board
CocoaSafe
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