Women workers weed and clean around cacao trees in a plantation. - - General: General. Brazil is one of the world's largest producers of cocoa, which has a high food value, containing as much as 20% proteins. The processing of cacao seeds, better known as cocoa beans, is complex. The fruit harvest is cured or fermented in a pulpy state for 3 to 9 days, during which, the heat kills the seeds and turns them brown. The enzymes activated by fermentation impart the substance that will give the beans their characteristic chocolate flavour when roasted. The beans are dried in the sun, cleaned and stoned in special machines, before they are roasted. They are then shelled in a crushing machine and ground into chocolate. During the grinding, the fat melts producing a sticky chocolate "liquor" used to make chocolate candy or filtered to remove the fat and then cooled and ground into cocoa powder.