Page:The food of the Gods - A Popular Account of Cocoa.djvu/89

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"THE FOOD OF THE GODS."

for though the sun at its best is all that is needed, a showery day will seriously interfere with the process, even though the sliding roof is promptly pulled across to keep the rain from the trays.

In Venezuela an old Spanish custom still prevails of sprinkling a fine red earth over the beans in the process of drying; this plan has little to recommend it, unless it be for the purpose of long storage in warehouses in the tropics, when the "claying" may protect the bean from mildew and preserve the aroma. In Ceylon it is usual to thoroughly wash the beans after the process of fermentation, thus removing all remains of the pulp, and rendering the shell more tender and brittle. Such beans arrive on the market in a more or less broken state, and it seems probable that they are more subject to contamination owing to the thinness of the shell. The best "estate" cocoa from Ceylon has a very bright, clear appearance, and commands a high price on the London market; this cocoa is of the pure criollo strain, light brown (pale burnt sienna) in colour.

The valleys of Trinidad and Grenada have