Cocoa Bean Counters

July 24, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Leslie Josephs delved into the world of cocoa bean graders:

  • Cocoa beans are a big business. They’re key to chocolate and there’s an $8 billion market for them.
  • The IntercontinentalExchange on which they are traded needs them to be graded. There are currently 24 certified graders but the numbers may soon dwindle due to retirement.
  • It’s four times harder to pass the certification exam to become a cocoa bean grader, than it is to pass the New York State Bar exam.
  • Yet the graders are rarely called upon. They earn $21 for examining a 10-ton shipment, for about $350 a session. They only work as bean graders 50 days a year.
  • Just by examining it, graders have to be able to identify which country the beans came from, how they were dried, and identify any odors they may have absorbed.

To read more including comments from those who had to take the tests multiple times, why it makes a difference if the beans are dried over a fire, the lengths that some go to, to identify the beans, how Ecuadorian and Nigerian beans differ, and the odd case of a bullet shell among the beans, click here.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Via: Marginal Revolution