How to Grind Cocoa Beans

Updated April 11, 2017

Grinding your own cocoa beans at home can be an economical and natural way to make your own cakes or other chocolate based desserts. Cocoa, which is the completed derivative of the cocoa bean, has been associated with reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol. It also has antioxidant properties that reduces the likelihood of blood clots. If you have raw cocoa beans then they need to be roasted first. If you purchased roasted cocoa beans you need to extract the nibs from the shells and grind them to powder before you can use them in your recipe.

Roast the cocoa beans. If you bought preroasted beans you can skip this step. Preheat your oven to 121 degrees C. While it is heating, place the beans in a strainer and put it under running water to clean. Dry and place on a baking tray. Put into the oven for 20 minutes, checking to make sure they do not burn. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Place the beans on a cutting board. Roll over the beans with a rolling pin to separate the nibs - the inside of the bean - from the shells. You may need to roll a few times to ensure all the nibs are separated from their shells.

Place the nibs into a large bowl. Fill with water. Hold the bowl over a sink and lightly tap the sides of the bowl to shake the nibs. The shells will come to the surface because the nibs are heavier than the shells. This process is called winnowing. Skim the surface of the water with a spoon to take off all the cocoa shells. Drain the nibs and thoroughly dry.

Place the cocoa nibs in the food processor. Pulse the blade for one or two minutes. Your cocoa should now have smaller pieces.

Scoop 2 tbsp of the cocoa from the food processor to a coffee grinder and grind for 15 seconds. Pause for 10 seconds to let them cool, then grind again for 15 seconds.

Repeat until all the cocoa beans have been ground into a fine powder.


Be careful not to overheat the cacao when grinding. If the temperature gets too high the powder will liquefy.

Things You'll Need

  • Cocoa nibs
  • Food processor
  • Coffee grinder
  • Baking tray
  • Strainer
  • Rolling pin
  • Large bowl
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About the Author

Brian Moynihan started writing in 2006 for "The Depaulia" newspaper. He has also written for "The Berkeley Beacon" and his creative works have appeared in "The Emerson Review" and "Literary Laundry." Moynihan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing, literature and publishing from Emerson College.