We start with the bean

September 4, 2012

At Haigh’s we’re proud to be one of only a few specialist chocolate manufacturing-retailers in the world making our own chocolate from the cocoa bean.

The Bean Tree
The cocoa tree (theobroma cacao – meaning Food of the Gods) is a small evergreen tree that grows naturally under the rainforest canopy reaching approximately 25m high. Like wine grapes, cocoa beans have different flavour characteristics depending on variety, area of origin and processing. They are cultivated in many tropical locations around the world.

We start by sourcing our premium quality cocoa beans from countries around the world such as South America, Africa and the Western Pacific Region. Then, at our factory, we put them through a number of precise step-by-step processes to turn them from cocoa bean into liquid chocolate.


First, the beans are roasted at high temperature in a revolving bean roaster. The heat enhances the colour and flavour and removes moisture.

Sirroco Roaster


Using the winnower, the outer husk of the bean is cracked and blown away. Cocoa beans have now become cocoa ‘nibs’ which have the full, chocolate flavour, unsweetened.


Grinding and Mixing
Next is the Nib Mill which grinds the beans into a thick cocoa liquor. Warm, dark and still very bitter. The cocoa liquor is then pressed and blended with extra cocoa butter, vanilla and icing sugar. And if we’re making milk chocolate, we also blend in milk powder at this stage.

Cocoa liquor
Mixing cocoa liquor with milk powder and icing sugar into chocolate paste

The roller mill then refines the chocolate paste to an extremely fine powder. This critical stage helps achieve the correct smoothness of the chocolate on the palate.

Into the Roller Refiner

In the conching machine, extra cocoa butter is added and the chocolate paste is then beaten for many hours. It’s this extra time of mixing and beating, of aerating the chocolate, that gives the flavours and texture enough time to really develop to perfection.

Conching - the final stage

Voila! We have chocolate
And not just one type, but six special blends. The liquid chocolate is then stored on-site in large holding tanks, at a molten temperature, until it’s needed to make any one of our 200 delicious products.

Liquid chocolate ready to create

It’s because we start from the bean that we can continue to develop our own unique blends of premium chocolate with that distinctive Haigh’s aroma, texture and flavour. It means we can provide our customers the very best in quality, freshness and taste.

Making our own chocolate right here in Adelaide, South Australia ensures that we retain and further develop the artisan skills needed to make award-winning chocolate.

Keeping it fresh
We’re committed to keeping our traditional manufacturing methods and quality alive and one way we do this is by using batch method cooking. We produce up to 20 batches of different products each day so we can make sure we always have the freshest products on offer. Many of our products are hand-finished and then carefully packed by hand into boxes or bags for delivery to our stores.

From us to you
Having our own retail outlets means that our chocolates are always fresh, and are stored and presented to perfection. And, we can ensure that you always receive the very best of friendly, personal service at Haigh’s.

Click here for more information on how we make our chocolate and to view our chocolate making video.