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I thought this would be an easier search but I'm hitting a wall.  We'd like to start serving some drinking chocolate at area markets and as I search for a machine to keep warm and agitate our heart-stopping concoction all I am seeing is 900$ machines and $50 ones.  Is there no middleground?  Are the billete high end machines really worth it?  How fast do the cheapies break down?

Have you gone through this row and found a path that can be shared?  It's getting cold out and we want to warm some patrons souls up.

Tags: chocolate, drinking, machine, purchase, recommendation

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Hi,
I have never actually used these machines, but I too was searching and found this:

http://www.sarahs-sweet-fountains.com/drinking-chocolate-dispenser-...

This model seems to be cheaper because it has a 3 liter capacity verses the more expensive 6 liter model:

http://www.sarahs-sweet-fountains.com/drinking-chocolate-machine-ch...
Good luck!
Jenny
Thanks Jenny, great to know there's a smaller version at half the price.

Kerry1, the little home ones: http://www.amazon.com/Back-Basics-CM300BR-Cocoa-Latte-Hot-Drink/dp/... they seem to come in a few varieties. Cheap, plastic, paddle.. not much science to it.
I wonder if the little ones stir - I'd probably go after the 3 litre one mentioned above.
I've helped people get their hands on the $900 ones - they are a nice piece of equipment. Can you link me to a $50 one so I can see what you are referring to to compare?
I have looked into this half heartedly every now and then but haven't found anything that has made me buy. One question to ask when you look at a machine is does it heat the liquid from cold - many do not. I presume this has to do with the fact that things like urns heat really rapidly and would burn a milk based drink so the heating has to be gentle. I have also looked at other things that may do the job such as soup warmers (soup kettles) which hold soup at 80 degrees celcius, again you have to preheat liquid before it goes in. Also you may look under 'milk warmers' again a lot of these require preheating the beverage.

I did send an email to Sarah of Sarah's Sweet Fountains and she said that their unit will heat from cold but it will be slow, I downloaded their specs and this machine seems to be the best I have seen so far. But that is just looking on the internet.
Tom, can you share the spec sheet?

I hadn't really given too much thought to the pre-heat idea and it's one worth knowing going into it.
We ordered one today. I'll do a review of it once we receive and put it through it's paces. Thanks for hoisting up the documentation.
Cool, it would be good to get the lowdown.
did you get this up and running? 

Yes, thanks for the reminder to circle back here.

 

The dispenser works as advertised and actually warms up to a heat we are looking for from cold-start in ≤ 30minutes.  You can get your liquid to scalding if you like as well so it's got quite a range on it.

 

The only caveats we've seen is as liquid heats it creates condensation, condensation collects and then is redeposited into the liquid basin which does not really rejoin your chocolate concoction.  Due to thermal dynamics and whatnot the surface will be cooler so a thin layer of chocolate sludge may begin to form--I'm sure this is aided or perhaps even created by the condensation.  Again these are picks not show stoppers as we wouldn't serve anything that got that low anyhow.

 

Our method of creation is not to add pure chocolate, cream, etc, to be combined with the machines aid. We combine in our kitchen/stovetop then refrigerate.  We pour the chocolate-carafe-container into the dispensary when we are ready to go.  If 30m was too long you could pre-heat your drink and probably reduce this time to minutes.

 

Cleanup is pretty easy; the entire container breaks down.  I wonder how long certain seals will hold up with lots of regular use but so far the way it's built everything secures the next piece of the puzzle.  We'll see.

 

That's my general overview, if you have specific questions I can field I'd be happy to.

Thanks Andy.  How much are your serving sizes and what are you putting them in?  I am looking to have this as an additional serive along with our mini-donuts.  We get hired to do events like weddings, parties, etc.

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