Cacao must be fermented in wooden boxes for 5-7 days post harvest in order to bring out the complexity and quality of the beans. This image shows a 3 tier fermantation system, where the beans (which ferment in their own pulp at roughly 125 degrees F) are cascaded down 1 tier every couple of days until they are ready. The leakage on the lower-left corner of the image shows the gases released during fermenation. Xoco plans to capture this energy in order to generate power for its post-harvest production benefit centers.
The next step is drying. Beans are traditionally dried for several days under the sun on an expansive area of stone (or concrete). Removing all of the liquid finishes the bean's journey before entering the "chocolate factory."