Greetings Fellow Chocophiles,
I have recently begun the process of purchasing a Spectra 40 Stone Melanger - http://www.santhausa.com/Spectra%2040%20Melanger%20Speed%20Controll...
Is there anybody out there on the Chocolate Life who has experience using this equipment, or who knows anyone who has?
I am receiving an extremely low level of customer service, and the warranty is very limited on the product, as well as there being no facility in the United States (where I am) to service the melangeur in the event of mechanical problems. On top of this, I have been told I will have to wait several months for the Spectra 40 to ship directly from the manufacturer in India.
With an investment of this nature, my business simply cannot afford for this type of equipment to be anything other than top-notch for many years to come, if not decades. Any advice or information regarding the Spectra 40 Melanger specifically, or Santha in general, is greatly appreciated.
When I first started making chocolate in my home in 2005, I used a small version of the Santha, and pretty much destroyed it. The end result was a complete rebuild with a more powerful motor, fibreglass belts, and numerous changes to the bin where the nibs are ground.
I know there are artisan chocolatiers out there who are using the machines you refer to, but given their design and original intended design (not to grind cocoa beans, but rather grind soft beans into pastes for East Indian food), they will all inevitably fail. In the end, the question is: How handy are you? I guarantee you will be replacing belts, and having to add some type of heating mechanism to the machine to keep the chocolate warm enough to stay liquid.
I don't want to discourage you from starting your own venture. It's fun, and exciting, and rewarding, and scary all at the same time. And... Like I said, there are micro chocolatiers out there who are using modified versions of this machine. I'm just trying to tell you from experience what to expect from it going in!
Cheers and best wishes.
Yeah, I just canceled my order after a week of them not answering the phone or responding to my messages. Do you recommend any other Melangers?
Im really dissappointed because I was excited about the 40L volume and the variable speed control. Alas, I should have known it was too good to be true...
The only other models I can find on the internet are the Cocoa Town melangers ( http://www.cocoatown.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=arti... ) and the Ultra Melangers on Chocolate Alchemy ( http://shop.chocolatealchemy.com/collections/equipment ). But neither really have the throughput Im looking for.
You may want to look at CocoaTown's line of larger melangers that they call grindeurs. The come in 30, 40 and 65lb versions.
I didnt even look into those because on first glance they appeared to be only for milling powder. If nothing else that expands my options - who wouldnt want "The Rolls Royce of Grindeurs"...
(If you're still there!)
Do you have any recommendations for a replacement motor for the santha 20? The machine is less than 6 months old but I've noticed that the drum has been spinning more slowly..
Are you sure it's the motor? Have you replaced the belt already? If not, I'd do that first as the stock belts are not great and wear out pretty quickly. Per Brad's suggestion a few years ago, I only use the fiberglass link belts on my melangers and they've been great. No stretching or breaking. I've had one on my Santha 40 now for over a year with no problems (the stock one broke on the third or fourth batch).
I have replaced the belt once. Next time I'll go for fiberglass- thanks!
I don't think that the belt is the problem, but I'll check just in case. When I first got the machine, the motor made a really high pitched (bad) sound. I took the santha to a machine shop and they pretty much diagnosed the motor as a low-quality cheapo. (They improved the noise a tiny bit by doing something with the bearings, and then one day months later the noise pretty much evaporated. But at the same time I noticed the drum rotating more slowly. (speed control still says 1500)
Because of the conversation with the mechanic, I just assumed it was time for a motor replacement.
Yes the machine is not reliable I have 3 of them (sigh)
Maybe you all should take a look at ChocoEasy - this is a German machine so it's expensive, but built to last forever, serviced here in USA by yours truly and customer service is our best sales tool.
I'll tell you up front that the 50 Kilogram machine is $99,500 and the 300 Kilgoram machine is $186,000. These are fully automated machines to control temperature, process time. Produce 25 to 50 Kgs in 8 hours to below 15 microns. Can start with nibs and butter
So if you're ready to use a BMW versus a Tata, please take a look. NETZSCH is having a seminar on this machine in Las Vegas at Chef Rubber on July 28th-29th.
Duffy - the latest version of the chocoeasy has a pre-grinding rotor installed in the refiner that allows feeding very coarse materials, like nibs or crystal sugar, so the company you are familiar with may have an older unit.
To start with nibs you need to use some cocoa butter to circulate the nibs into the refiner. depending on the size of the ChocoEasy unit, the amount of butter required to do this is about 3-4 kilograms.