Improving processing technologies: Cacao beans
Phase One

We are testing cacao bean processing methods and technologies to develop a simple solution to increase the value of cacao.

Solar Dryer
  • All year round use
  • Locally available materials and easy to replicate
  • Hygienic (indoor)
The Hybrid Solar Dryer designs

This project has been completed.
Thank you to all who contributed.

Fermentation Box
  • Easy to build & replicate
  • Locally available materials
  • Easy to use
The three-tier fermentation box design

This project has been completed.
Thank you to all who contributed.


Based on data from the Bali Agricultural Agency, more than 80% of cacao production in Bali comes from smallholder farmers. Cacao is largely grown and dried in Bali using traditional methods which involve laying the beans outside on a dry surface under the sun. This is done on a small scale and has risks related to weather and animals, and can produce a lower quality output.

Cacao is rising to become one of Bali’s major commodities. However there is little knowledge and little investment in learning the best way to process this product to increase its quality and in turn its value for smallholder farmers.

When cacao is fermented and then dried, the flavour develops and the beans can be used to produce chocolate. In general, fermented beans fetch a much higher price than unfermented beans.

We believe that if farmers can ferment the beans before drying them, the quality will improve. We also believe that by using a Hybrid Solar Dryer, we can improve the efficiency and quality of the cacao beans, when compared to traditional drying methods.
What we want to test: 

There are some simple technologies currently available that can increase the productivity of cacao processing and possibly increase the quality of dried cacao beans.

We will modify a standard fermentation box, creating a three-tier design aimed at making use of gravity to help farmers move large quantities of cacao beans more easily from one box to the next as they undergo the different stages of fermentation. We hope this newly designed box allows the farmer to ferment larger quantities of beans at one time, increasing their productivity.

We will also create a Hybrid Solar Dryer that ordinarily uses heat from sunlight but is also equipped with a biomass stove that can be used on cloudy days or at night time. We will be testing the efficiency of the solar drying process ensuring it is quicker than traditional methods and that it removes enough moisture to protect the quality of the beans.

We will process 250 kilograms of fresh cacao beans using the proposed technology to conduct our experiment. We will then compare the following:

  1. The quality and efficiency of the fermentation process using the three-tier fermentation box versus the current fermentation box (single tier);

  2. The quality and efficiency of the drying process using the Hybrid Solar Dryer versus the traditional open air drying method.

What will we measure: 

Kopernik’s project team will check the cacao after completing each processing method and measure the following:

  1. Fermentation
    • Temperature (celsius)
    • Visual quality using cut-test method
    • Flavour
  1. Open air drying

    • Temperature (celsius)
    • Moisture content
    • Number of drying days needed
  1. Hybrid Solar Dryer

    • Temperature (celsius)
    • Moisture content
    • Drying quality (defect beans)
    • Flavour characteristics
    • Number of drying days needed

The sampling method used will involve testing a sample from five random locations once the beans have completed the processing steps.

This project is the first phase of experimenting with cacao processing technologies and will concentrate on testing, gathering insights & making recommendations. Results will be analyzed and documented by the team. In the future, if the results from this first phase are promising, Kopernik tends to develop further strategies to provide advantages to smallholder farmers growing cacao.

Who are we working with: 

We are working with Unit Pengolahan Hasil (UPH) Kakao Organik Angkah in Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia, who currently buys this commodity from local farmers.

Project timeframe: 
Three months
Project Costs: 
Cost TypeCost DescriptionCost Unit AmountCost QuantityCost Amount
Cost of technology, including shipping/building expenses
Cost of data collection and reporting
Payment processing fee
Cost of processing online donations
Administration fee
Cost of operations
Fluctuations in currency exchange rates and shipping costs may change the final quantity of technologies we ship for this project.

A huge Kopernik thank you to the 3 people who pitched in $4,201.00