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I have a small space (500sf) and want to do bean to bar chocolate making. I cannot seem to find the right assembly of traditional equipment that would work in that space (There is another 300sf working space not suited for equipment).

Has anyone used the NETZSCH machines or know someone who does? It seems like a solution, but I am concerned about reliability, cost, consistency, and of course quality.

I would appreciate any input you have.

Best regards,

Tags: chocolate, making, netzsch

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What equipment have you looked into and what volume are you trying to make in a batch/week etc?
I haven't used NETSCH but think that you could do bean to bar in that space.
I just got back from London where I was able to see a 300kg Netzsch ChocoEasy in operation at Artisan du Chocolat at their workshop in Ashford, Kent. Sir Hans Sloane, also in London, has a machine. From my first connection with the machines (nearly two years ago now) and my closeup contact I can say that the machines are suited for production of fine chocolate - as long as you approach their use correctly.

At more than US$85,000 for a 50kg machine, however, they are not cheap - though this figure does include the electronics which are a very appealing part of the machine because, once a recipe is dialed in it can be repeated totally accurately. With one of these machines, once you know what you are doing, you can produce a very high quality batch of chocolate in under 24 hours. You don't need to conch for days because that would beat the life out of the chocolate.

Where the Netzsch machine falls down - and this is a criticism of EVERYTHING in this space - is that there is no support equipment that is sized appropriately. Assuming a 50kg batch of finished chocolate every 24 hours, you need a suite of support equipment that can process between 25-40kg of cocoa beans, from the bag to liquor, in under 8 hours. Most machinery seems to be sized to handle <5kg hr or >50kg hour. So you're stuck with:

a) machines that can't keep up with the demands of the conche
b) machines thatoverproduce by many, many times, what you need (overpaying until demand meets capacity)
c) making/adapting machines yourself to meet your specific requirements

At some point, virtually all small chocolate makers have a production scheme that encompasses aspects of all three. Jo Zander (holycacao) has posted pictures here on TheChocolateLife of a clothes dryer that he modified to roast beans. Samantha Madel and Langdon Stevenson of Tava in Australia have developed their own winnower - as have many others. The Mast Brothers have a very interesting collection of equipment they've modified and adapted and opted to spend real money on only one machine - a Selmi temperer/depositor.

Where you come down on this question is a matter of budget and where you think it makes the most sense to spend your money, and your appetite for invention and shop skills.

Jo is right when he says that 500sf is large enough to set up a working small-batch chocolate factory though, as I mention above, you'll need to think hard about the organization of the space, including the need for storage for the beans and storage for chocolate in its semi-finished and finished states, plus space for wrapping, etc. One more thing I would caution you about your space is that working with beans is dusty so you'll want to think hard about separating the space where you store, clean, roast, and winnow the beans from the rest of your facility. There are lots of ways to do this from clear-plastic flaps and air curtains to physical walls.
The information that you have all provided has been very helpful in getting me to think "out of the box". I have to admit i have much to learn about the start to finish process and am constantly absorbing information wherever i can.
It seems i can pump the finished batch into my temperer/enrober. The CE50/300 will hold the completed batch until it is ready to be pumped out, but no new batch can start until it is pumped out. One of the other challenges with the machine is that it only accepts liquor that already has all the ingredients you want to include in the finished product.

Again, Thanks for the great info!
Hi Guys,

The ChocoEasy system has to start with a liquid, NETZSCH does not currently have any bean roasting, cracking or winnowing equipment, I have been to Bottom Line Technologies in Sarasota Florida, they make a small cracking and winnowing machine suitable for use with the ChocoEasy 50 Kg unit (CE 50)

What I would like to try sometime with the CE 50 is bean grinding in the machine itself. We can pump solids as large as 3-5 mm. So if we start out a chocolate batch with just a small amount of liquor in the machine, we could add the nibs, grind them to the desired fineness. We have made dark chocolate fine as 8 microns using micrometer measurement.

Then add Sugar or whatever sweetener you want to use, milk powder if milk chocolate (another thing I want to try is using whole milk or condensed milk since the drying capability of the CE 50 is quite efficient)

The space required for a CE 50 is about 10” x 6” this includes room to move and work around the machine. A power panel can be mounted on a wall as far as 100’ away for the machine. It does require 230 or 460 volts, 3 Phase power and cooling water (intermittent use) it has its own hot water system for controlling temperatures.

Thanks for the interesting discussing,
Hello everyone,
I am very grateful of all the knowledge on these forums that people willingly share, I think it's fantastic. I have so far just been perusing all the forums and trying to get an understanding of what people are using and the kinds of outputs that people can achieve from cost effective set ups. I would like to be able to set up to make small batches of chocolate for sale, with an artisan approach not dissimilar to the Mast Brothers of Brooklyn.

I have been looking at the Mast Brothers set up, they seem to have 4 grinders that they use to grind down and conche their roasted nibs. They say they run them for something like 72 hours I think. Does anyone know what kind of grinders they use? I know they also have a Spectra Melangeur there too but it seems it might be for test batches. If anyone knows of any other machinery out there that is for the small/artisan approach I'd be grateful to hear of it.

Thank you to all,
Having done over 5 years of research into the chocolate industry, I can tell you that Netsch prices and Bottom Line Processing prices are insane. Period.

I was able to set up my entire chocolate shop, capable of producing approximately 200lbs of HIGH QUALITY chocolate per day, for approximately $150,000, which also included several tons of beans, cocoa butter, and packaging.

The winnower I made myself for $1,000 does higher volume and takes up less floor space than the $50,000 Frankenstien that BLP wanted to charge.

The refiners? You're better off buying a couple of small, new, MacIntyre conche/refiners, which WILL process chocolate right from the roasted nib. You could even purchase a couple of used ones through Jim Greenberg at Union Machinery in the Eastern US, for MUCH less than Netsch.

Just this one piece of advice alone will save you $25,000 (MacIntyre conche/Refiners are about $24,000 each), give you redundancy (TWO machines instead of one Netsch) in case of failure, AND more production.

I've already put the bill for this tidbit of advice in the mail to you! LOL


Hi Brad. Is there a possibility I could chat with about your equipment knowledge skills. I have a special application and needs some guidance.

Jason 10-04-2012

The Mast Brothers are using machines from - the Grindeurs.
Thanks Clay,

Has anyone ever used any of Cocoa Town's products? I'm really keen to get started. I was going to go with Santha but if anyone can recommend me something to start off with, that'd be great. I think in the future I would need something something bigger than the 10 lbs melangeurs but I do need to start somewhere.

I've been playing around with the Cocoa Town Deluxe Melanger - works very nicely. They also make bigger units (look under Grindeur on their website) for when you are ready to make larger batches.
Hi Chantelle,

I use the ECGC65 grinder from Cocoa Town - here are my impressions after 6 months useage:
- it arrived late
- the machine has no switching on it so it is switched on and off at the wall. I can sort this but I also need to put a cage around it for safety reasons
- the wheels and base were not a great match to start with. Despite their advice I ran the machine for a good few hours through many changes of water until they were a better fit and running more evenly
- the drum leaked at the edge of the steel where it meets the granite. Only a small amount and they sent me glue to fix it, which worked.
- I have made I think 22 batchs through the machine up to now. I throw the nibs in gradually from lunchtime until the machine will run and not clog and then leave overnight with no heat applied as a "refine" step.
- Next morning I add pre-ground sugar (done beforehand in the same machine) and the conching process starts. The machine generates a bit of heat in the bowl anyway so you don't need to add much heat to it.
- Overall, a few very minor teething issues but it works and the chocolate tastes pretty good. The texture is good now that I pre-grind the sugar too.
- I will be buying another one - they are cheap and efficient.

Red Star Chocolate Ltd

Hi Duffy,


How many pounds of cocoa nibs can you work with at a time in a ECGC65? The website says 65lbs but just thought your experience might be helpful.  






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