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I will soon be heading to some cacao growing areas in SE Asia, and would like to get some recommendations for good quality/price cacao testing equipment such as a guillotine cross-section cutter, moisture meter, ph meter, refractometers, etc.  What are some cost-effective models?

 

Thanks in advance for your advice and feedback.

 

Vincent Mourou-Rochebois

 

 

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Depends on what you want to test:

Guillotine - at the level you're at, you'd only really be able to use it to get a feel for degree of fermentation.  It will be useless to determine insect damage or mold at this stage.  It's more of a qualitative test for fermentation, and not a terribly accurate one at that.

 

Moisture meter - get a dickey john portable, or an aquaboy with a small sample adapter.  Good for rapid, nondestructive testing for moistures < 20% (good to quickly determine if drying is sufficient or not).  Be prepared to spend a few hundred bucks.

 

pH meter. Lots of small hand held devices available.  Question would be why do you want it?  What is it you're measuring - pulp pH?  Whole bean?  And what would you do with the results - how would you use them? <$200.  Get calibration fluids for 1, 5, 7 pH.  You won't need alkaline.

 

Refractometer - similar to the handheld pH meter.  What would you do with it, how would you use the results?  < $200.

 

I'd start with identifying what parameters you want to control / track, then determine what equipment you need to do so.

sorry, i misread your original post - i thought you said you were going to do some growing - disregard my comments on the guillotine - if you're evaluating beans that have already been processed (fermented, dried, stored), it will do those things.  That's what i get for reading in a hurry - i'm off to origin myself today, actually.. in a bit of a hurry given all the packing and logistics i'm afraid...

You should ask Hans...

 

plase, who is Mr. Hans?

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