One of the last steps in chocolate production, gives chocolate it’s smooth, consistent texture. In the conching process, the chocolate is heated while it is stirred and ground, then further mixed and aerated. Aeration reduces the acidity of the chocolate and tones down bitter flavors. Conching can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the quality of the finished product. Better chocolates are conched for longer, resulting in a smoother texture. There is some degree of flavor loss during the conching process and each chocolate manufacturer must find their desired ratio of texture to flavor. Rodolphe Lindt developed conching in 1879, and the process revolutionized the chocolate industry. Lindt’s development opened the door for high quality chocolate to be eaten out of hand. The process and machinery are named after the Spanish word for “shell” because of the appearance of the first conch machines, which had the shape of a shell.