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I have a small pan for panning chocolate covered coffee beans. Building up by pouring choccolate takes forever and is a vast waste of time. It is also something of an art as if I go too fast I get "doubles" (where the product joins together). If I go too slow the chocolate seems to "starve" and becomes porous. I can't do a "continuous pour" as I need to stop & start a lot so as to avoid both doubles and "starvation" so I basically have to stand there for some hours as I build up.

I think that spraying could be an answer. The system needs to hold a decent amount of chocolate (min 20 liters pref 70 liters), be held at the right temperature, not make too much mess when the chocolate is atomised and probably be able to be controlled in appropriate "spurts" to give time for the product to harden between coats. It must be easy to clean too as I  use several types of chocolate including chilli which has to be well cleaned out.

I have looked around for a while but have only found systems that are both large and costly (around US$35,000) with lots of pipes coming in from holding tanks. I am seeking something in the US$6,000 range max that is simple and easy to use. Selmi have a brilliant system BUT it relies on electronics from their own pan which is very expensive (around US$24,000). Besides - I already have my own 15Kg output pan (which cost me less than US$2,000 delivered).

I am in Australia but am pleased to buy from anywhere.

Any thoughts would be really welcome!



Tags: coating, spraying

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let me know what you find out.  I also am in the same situation.  I am panning about 30kg batches using a 50kg chocolate melter and hand pouring all of it.


Jeremy - may I ask what you are panning and how long it is taking you for a 30Kg batch please? I ask as I really don't know how long it should take and I wonder if my getting a larger pan could be a great idea. I suspect that it takes about the same time to pan 50Kg as it does to pan 15Kg which is why my pan yields. Thanks!


Really pleased to Jeremy. Where are you located?

Colin :-)


I'm panning everything I can!  I find it addicting and meditative.  I have only worked with dried fruit and solid centers and I am not up against the problem you are facing with your fragile berries.

Like I said before....  I am hand pouring 30kg batches of nuts or dried fruits and my build up time takes a little under an hour. Its a slow start trying to keep from getting doubles. but I don't try to fix all the doubles.  I have kind of decided that 5% doubles is to be excepted.  The nice thing is that doubles are larger and will remain on top of the product so you can always spot them.

I built my own panning room which I like to work in at about 50f - 55f (10c - 12c)  It is basically a walk in refrigerator and makes all the difference in build up time.  I framed the walls and ceiling and insulated them with High density foam panels (the same type you would find in a walk in fridge or freezer...  installed this normal home grade AC Unit and tricked the AC unit into pushing its cooling power much lower than advertised.  I can get my panning room to about 38f (3c) in about a 40 mins.  (too cold to work in even in a down jacket).

Spraying would save me that hour of standing over the pan if I could hook a sprayer up to spray intermittently.

I would like to start a discussion with you on polishing.  Are you getting a brilliant shine every time?  Are you using a glazing compound of some sort?  I can polish to a brilliant shine but sometimes it takes the product HOURS in the pan to get that shine.  I have also polished in less than 30 minutes a few times.  I would like to put our brains together and see if I can get this dialed into a science.



Hi Jeremy,

Sounds like a great idea!

We are thinking very much on the same lines. I pan in a converted bedroom with no special insulation. However I have been planning to line it in the same way as you describe with foam panels faced with aluminium or stainless steel sheet. Also want to tile the floor. I wondered how much difference it would make and now you have inspired me!

My pan is a unit that I purchased from China. It holds 15Kg, is variable speed and cost me US$2,000 including freight from Shanghai to Sydney. I had never even seen a pan before I bought so I was trying to keep price down to see how it went. Now I need to increase the pan size and I will probably purchase an enrober too.

I am amazed at the speed at which you can pan! I mostly do coffee beans but also raspberry jellies too. More recently I have been trying the freeze-dried starwberries too which you can see I am having issues with. The coffee beans and also the jellies have flat sides and these "double" horribly. It can take me three hours or so of careful attention to get to a point where the double reduce and then two to four hours beyond that before I have completed the panning process. So your timing is mind-boggling to me!

I THINK that part of my issue (in addition to the flat surfaces) is that the small pan does not let the product drop through the air for long enough. Also I am panning at no-where near the temperatures you speak of. So your comments give me much hope that I can do much better.

How did you modify your a/c unit to yield such low temperatures? That is a neat trick!

You ask about polishing. I have spent a bit of time on this. Someone told me that the "big guys" add talc at the end to induce polish. I managed to buy some but while searching I found reference to possible problems relating to cancer. It is very close to asbestos and that has been a major problem here in Australia. So I tossed that idea pretty quickly.

I leave the product to cool overnight. Then I add gum arabic in the form of Capol 5021 which I buy in 10 liter drums. I do this in three coast and leave it to polish dry in between. Then I finally seal against moisture and to a degree, heat, with Capol 425M (which I also buy in 10 liter drums). Capol 425M is shellac disolved in alcohol.

The polishing needs to be done in low humidity - I get to around 45RH. However it's also supposed to be quite cool - about 18 degrees C or less to yield the gloss. That can be hard to achieve and there is a real trade-off between temperature and humidity. I can discuss this with you if you'd like.

So, that is it from me so far. I am keen on an enrober for two reasons - one to pre-coat the freeze-dried strawberries and second to do the same with the raspberry jellies to make them more "round" for panning. In both cases it's a pre-coat although I might do more "chocolate stuff" just enrobing. Still considering my options there.

Incidentally I THINK that I have a rather neat answer to the spraying issue too but am still looking. Will need to share that with you via email if I can't find something better.

Colin :-)


Did you use a CoolBot to be able to get the temperature of the room below the lowest set point of the air conditioner? I am using one on a project in New York right now. There are hugely cost effective.

:: Clay


one of the best ways to make money, is to save money you don't have to spend.  I build my own cutting wheels for a fraction of the cost of purchasing new.  I built my first pan capable of about 10 pound batches which mounts to the front of a kitchen aid mixer (that drive shaft is great).  I got the idea from a guy who had built a taffy puller using a kitchen aid front drive.  I built my second pan capable of 65-70 pounds from a cement mixer and a hand pounded Stainless drum from India.  (Karol Baugh neighborhood in Delhi is a great place you can have anything you want built.)  I built my web application which emails me when orders come in, tracks my inventory and manages my spending...  my computer tells me what I have to make today so that I never run my shelves empty and my product is always fresh. (thank you .NET and Visual Studio for the tools to do that)((that was about a $8,000 web app at no more cost than my own time)).

My point.......

Earn more money buy spending less.

 This is why I use a coolbot.

The cool bot is a great tool and with a properly insulated room it is cost efective to use them as a full time walk in fridge.  A panning room doesn't even really need to be insulated because you are only running the ac for short bursts of time while you are in there.

I know people who have been tricking ac units using heaters hooked up to thermostats for years.  The cool bot is just the same concept (less that $50 worth of parts from your local hardware store) wrapped up in a pretty package.

As for me....  I decided to go with the cool bot rather than tinkering around with parts.  I spent the $300 and hooked the whole thing up in less than two hours.  THAT INCLUDES....

-cutting a hole in the wall for the ac unit

-installing a new breaker in my panel and running 220 for the ac unit

-installing the ac unit

-hooking up the cool bot and watching the temp in my panning room fall  FAST

if you wat to use it for cold storage, a little bit of advice....

INSULATE THE FLOOR!  I have had friends completely rebuild their cool rooms because they didn't properly insulate the floor

Well, there's a really useful bit of informastion! Suddenly I'm in the market for a "CoolBot" - which I had never heard of before!

Thanks for that!


Colin: And they offer free (slow) shipping to Australia!

I've known about these since early 2007 when I saw one working at Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize. The project I am working on now is the first time I get to use one in practice, I am taking a room down to 55F (13C) for crystallization and storage.

I am insulating the (new construction) room I am using with double layers of mylar/bubble/mylar building insulation with 100mm dead air space in between (standard stud walls).

Sooooo useful Guys! This is the blueprint for my new panning room! I'm getting quite excited about this!


Hi guys,
i'm getting a panning machine to "test" in the next weeks and i would be in the same situation.
I have a deep pastry back ground and i used to spray a lot of chocolate to decorate cakes.
What about a simple spray gun? At my pastry lab we used to have a normal spray gun bought at the hardware store:electric and easy to use. also a air compressed air gun could work, no?

If our testing machine works, and i like to do panning, i am looking into the Selmi one or a Rollermac, both italian and very cool looking at their specs.
As soon as i get my machine i will also start to update my R&D on panninig!


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