A ChocolateLife member in Hawaii recently sent me pictures of a Brazilian-made coffee sheller that they've been using in a lab in the University of Hawaii to crack cacao beans for winnowing.
One of the things that makes this device interesting (apart from the fact that it should be inexpensive) is that the gap is adjustable. If so, this could address one of the issues that many people have with the Crankandstein, which is that because the gap is fixed (and narrow) it results in over-cracking the beans and a lot of small particles and dust.
Here are some pictures of the unit:
a) they know anything about these coffee shellers
b) can try them out on roasted beans and let us know how they work (photos, please!)
c) let us know how much they cost
d) be willing to help (translate) to see if it's worth trying to bring them here to the US.
Please keep us posted!
I am now going to try out some of those hand cracker cocoa mills.
But if you ever find your self with out one (like Me last week) i found that my little hand cranked mincer worked really well. you run the beans through without and mincing plates in, the cocoa beans crack in the auger Chamber and come out in nice almost cube shaped bits with large bits of separated shell.