Protocols for HCP Lab Tests & Raw Bean Characterization Pre-Liquor Preparation & Analysis

The following protocol covers what happens after the HCP Lab logs the receipt of the beans by their HCP Identification Number and bean information that will allow determination of the proper roasting conditions. While at the HCP Lab, prior to these tests, beans will be stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment to ensure their stability.

Raw Bean Characterization Tests
Upon receipt, the HCP Lab will conduct the following tests on the Applicant’s beans as they are prepared for processing into liquor and chocolate (covered in the following set of protocols):

  • Bean Count (Beans/100g)
  • Cut Test (2x 50 beans)
  • Raw Bean Moisture by Mettler loss in weight moisture balance calibrated to vacuum oven moistures

There is no a prior requirement for the Cut Test evaluation with the exception of the internal mold and infested categories. The Cut Test simply documents the characteristics of the Applicant’s beans. Mold and insect infestation must comply with the Proposed ISO Standard ISO/TC 34/SC “Cocoa Beans – Specification” (01/12/2012): maximum 3% moldy; maximum 3% infested.

The HCP Lab will also photograph the cut tests. Photos will include a (MacBeth) ColorChecker or equivalent to allow standardization of the colors due to lighting differences.

In the Unlikely Event Beans Fail Cut Tests
If all tests are passed, the HCP Lab will mark the tests as passed. Should a sample fail a Cut Test in the HCP Lab, the HCP Lab will mark the test as failed, and the Applicant and Tasting panel will be notified. 110 beans will then be sent to two HCP Tasting Panel members who have labs and can perform additional Cut Tests of 2 x 50 beans and photograph them. The new Cut Test information will be entered into the HCP Database.

  • If the result of the Cut Tests on the combined 6 x 50 beans passes the standard, the HCP Lab will mark the Cut Test as passed in the HCP Database and continue with the processing.
  • If the result of the Cut Test still fails the standard, the HCP Lab will mark that bean as rejected in the HCP Database, which will email the Applicant to resubmit the beans at the Applicant’s cost.

Once the beans are resubmitted following the standard HCP Submission Protocols, all tests will be performed again by the HCP Lab and if necessary the two additional Tasting Panel labs.

  • If the results of the Cut Tests on the 2 x 50 or combined 6 x 50 beans pass the standard at any point, the HCP Lab will mark the Cut Test as passed in the HCP Database and continue with the processing.
  • If the result of the Cut Test fails the standard a second time, the HCP Lab will again mark that bean as rejected in the HCP Database.

If rejected a second time, the HCP Tasting Panel will review the data of all the tests performed and provide their final recommendation. If the consensus of the panel agrees with the Cut Test determinations then the HCP Lab will mark the beans as rejected. The HCP will then follow up with the Applicant to discuss the failure of the sample and any next steps.

Beans that pass the Cut Test are now processed into Liquor and Chocolate – see the subsequent protocols in the left menu.