Nestled in Miami Gardens is the Magic City’s own “Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory,” Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa, a hidden treasure where more than 1.5 million pounds of decadent chocolate are produced each month.
With a process that spans from bean to bar, Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa thrives on more than 130 years of tradition in cocoa, coffee and chocolate production.
Situated on 82,000 square feet of land at Sunshine Industry Park in Miami Gardens, the factory is a 47,000 square foot facility where an assortment of delicious chocolate products are manufactured.
- Monthly Production Capability: 720 metric tons, or 1,585,903 lbs.
The state-of-the-art facility was designed to be monitored via Internet from anywhere in the world, including process sensors, formulation, control data and visual observation via live cameras. Such technology enables Tierra Nueva to maintain complete control of the raw material and production process from end to end, guaranteeing a safe, quality product… from bean to bar.
Tierra Nueva is a privately owned company that spawned from three commercial groups: CTI Group (a U.S. based company with more than 20 years of experience selling products in local market), Cocoa Nueva (an operator of futures and options in the coffee industry), and The Cruz Family (a Brazilian group with over 130 years of experience in coffee, cocoa and chocolate production).
Victory Henriquez opened the factory in 2009 with partners John Alexander and Mike Noroña; Miami being the international hub that it is, it was the perfect location for Tierra Nueva to receive its raw material and distribute products. The factory has established a close relationship with Hershey’s in Pennsylvania, the chocolate factory nearest to Tierra Nueva.
With dozens of chocolate varieties manufactured for private label retailers, Tierra Nueva also thrives on its scrumptious line of premium level Cruz Chocolates and its award-winning Coffee Thins, which features a blend of 100% natural coffee to create a coffee consuming experience unlike any other, sans chocolate.
The company has received endorsements from celebrity chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, the 27-year-old chef/owner at Eating House Miami and winner of Food Network’s Chopped series, who was featured in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list. Rapicavoli, known well for his taking to the Slow Food Movement, uses Tierra Nueva Cocoa products to infuse his cuisine, praising Tierra Nueva Cocoa for the quality of its product and their being a local producer.
From Bean to Bar: The Chocolate Making Process at Tierra Nueva Cocoa Factory
The striking facility is where chocolate products are manufactured, “from bean to bar.”
Hot Room: Cocoa mass is unpackaged and loaded to the crusher/melter. Liquid cocoa mass is pumped to the tanks, located in the Mezzanine, and maintained at 45 C. The same procedure is used to crush and melt down cocoa butter. Computer-controlled processes are used to dose the various chocolate ingredients in the chocolate conch, all of them previously stored at the Mezzanine (either in tanks or in silos). Dry conching (1st stage of conching is where the mixture of ingredients is converted into chocolate) is carried out using sugar, powdered milk, other ingredients, and part or all of the cocoa mass. After 6-8 hours of conching, chocolate aroma and flavor is achieved, and it is time to pass into the wet conching, where all the remaining cocoa butter is added. The warm aroma of chocolate permeates the hot room in the most delicious of ways.
To complete the formula, natural emulsifier soya lecithin and/or PGPR are added after the cocoa butter, followed by vanilla extract. This 2nd phase of conching takes another 45-60 minutes to complete plastification/homogenization of the chocolate mass. Once completed, the liquid chocolate is wet-milled for 2-3 hours using a horizontal ball mill until a fineness of 18-24 microns (thousand of a mm) is reached. The milled liquid chocolate is stored in large tanks under continuous agitation and maintained at 45 C, in order to keep it liquid (i.e., without any cocoa butter crystals pre-formed).
Cold Room: The final liquid chocolate is pumped to the tempering machine, where 5 types out of the 6 types of cocoa butter crystals, are pre-formed and subsequently melted until only crystals type 5 (melts at temperature 1 C below the human body temperature) remain (typically 2.5-5.5% pre-formed crystals). The tempered chocolate is dispensed into the plastic molds and shaken to level out and release air bubbles. Chocolate molds go through a cooling tunnel machine for about 30 minutes. The crystallization of most of the cocoa butter content (typically 75-85%) of the chocolate at the end of the cooling tunnel allows that each chocolate bar contracts, and therefore, it is easily unmolded and placed under a metal detector to protect the consumer.
Chocolate bars that pass the test are then flow packaged and subsequently placed in display boxes for distribution, and finally placed inside master cartons that are palletized and stored for a minimum of 48 hours, or until the cocoa butter within the chocolate bars is completely crystallized.
During shipment, the pallets are loaded into refrigerated trucks or containers and delivered to various destinations, and/or to a variety of local or national retailers, such as:
- Family Dollar
- Winn Dixie
- or other clients, such as Puerto Rico’s Chocolate Rico and Norwegian Cruise Lines
Tierra Nueva Cocoa Products
COFFEE THINS – “The Coffee Lovers Treat”
Varieties: Americano, Espresso, Latte
A blend of 100% natural coffee with a creamy and smooth texture; at 100mg per serving, this chocolate-free product has as much caffeine as an 8-ounce cup of coffee.
Buyer’s Choice Winner for Non-Chocolate Product at the ECRM Candy Annual Planning Show in Lake Tahoe, Nev., which highlight’s the year’s very best in candy.
Varieties: Milk Chocolate, Crispy Milk Chocolate, Peanut Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and
Cookies ‘n Cream
Varieties: Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Almond,
Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Orange
DIATT – ZERO
Varieties: Milk Chocolate Hazelnuts, Milk Chocolate Almonds, Dark Chocolate
- Sugar Free
- Gluten Free
- Lactose Free (Dark Chocolate)
- Less than 100 Calories per Bar