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I am having a difficult time looking for equipment to start making chocolate. I've never made any before and don't want to spend thousands to see if I am any good. I also don't want to be too cheap in case I am good and decide to sell chocolate in the future.......what to do?

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Tags: Equipment, home-based, start-up

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John over at chocolate alchemy sells everything you need.  www.ChocolateAlchemy.com

 

Have fun!

I second that.  That's the place to start and figure it out.

Thanks, see my update.

I have settled in buying nibs or liquor and doing my own conch/grind ($600 machine), then temper ($530 machine) and mold ($200 so far).  If you roast in your oven, crack in a big mortar pesto, winnow with a blow dryer and do a first grind in a champion juicer (I think $150), I think that is about as basic as you can go. 

Thanks, see my update.

I was in your shoes a few months ago so let me share some thoughts. You need to get a melanguer. I'm happy with the Santha 11 I got from chocolate alchemy. Get polycarbonate molds, the ones called "hobby molds" probably won't last a week and I can't see how you'd get air bubbles out with them. You probably want to get some cocoa butter. If you want to start very slowly, you can skip quite a few steps by buying some roasted nibs, put them in a Cuisinart and then into your melangeur without additional processing. My best batch so far was done this way (I got some Madagascar nibs from Amano so not very cost efficient). Beyond that you need a way to temper. You can learn to do it without special equipment or buy a tempering machine. This is the only mistake I feel I made. If you get a tempering machine, spend the extra money for the one that's 6 lbs or 6 kgs or whatever. The Revolation is just too small to handle a full load from the Santha, probably would take 10 cycles.

Good luck.

Thanks, see my update.
Thanks for your suggestions. Here's an update on my equipment progress, it's all getting kinda costly.

Roasting: I've oven roasted a few pounds so far. Haven't heard any good cracking. Since I've purchased 220 lbs of cocoa beans, I'll have a lot of practice. I am looking for an oven that I will convert into a roaster. I've purchased the rotisserie rods and the drum that can handle 8-10 pounds. We will see how this turns out.

Cracking: crankandstein $180 plus tax and shipping. I bought the accompanying bucket and built a base for it.

Winnowing: I did the hairdryer method which seems to work. However since then I have build a tube system that I connect to a shop vac. As the winnowed nibs and husk fall down the tube, the shop vac blows out the husks while the nibs make there way to the bottom. It's ugly and my wife called it "antiquated", but it actually worked really well after I figures out the right lengths.

Grinding: Champion Juicer is the bomb. However, I want to grind and separate the cocoa butter from the paste. The juicer creates liqueur but I would rather figure out a better way.

Melanger: Cocoatown $500 plus shipping. (Minus $25 discount from this website:))

Temperer: man I made a mess of this and have yet to create anything edible. So I purchased a temperer for $1700.00 that should do up to 25 lbs. I'm still waiting on delivery.

As I have yet to make anything edible, I have not found a mold or anything along those lines yet. Thanks everyone and I'm open to improvements and instruction.

Hi Roy. To separate the cocoa butter from the liquor, you'll need to buy or build a press. You'll still need to create the liquor from nib first.

Which tempering machine did you get?

Thanks,
Ben

Thanks Ben.

I bought the "little dipper" from Hilliards. Any suggestions on a press?

Roy.

I haven't looked into presses too much, so I don't have any suggestions. I think there has been some discussion about them here on TCL, though.

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