The Chocolate Life

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Small Scale Equipment for Artisan Chocolate Production

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum and hope this is the right place to post.

My name is Daniel Preston and together with Steve Chelminski  have started a company to design and manufacture cocoa processing machinery.


Our mission statement is to design and build modern production machines for medium scale artisan companies which pay design homage to turn of the century roots of the chocolate industry.


The machines are designed to be show-pieces for artisan manufacturers. Unique designs coupled with visible and accentuated mechanical details intended to maximize the experience of visiting customers.

Steve and I are aerospace engineers with a background in automation. We collectively hold over 140 patents/pending patents and our work has appeared in the Smithsonian, Metropolitan, Cooper Hewitt, Wexlar and other museums. We recently sold our founding position in a defense company (we designed and manufactured satellite guided parachutes & UAV’s), being too young to retire and while visiting my family in the Caribbean, lets just say I caught “Cacao Fever” (which seems to be very contagious). My family has been in agriculture & cacao in the Dominican Republic since 1899.


The first machine we designed is our Vortex winnower. It’s based on our inventive technology of separating nibs from husks using Vortex tubes. It has an Integreal two stage cracking mill and we designed it to be constructed in Pyrex glass design so that the process is visiable. 70 kg/hour production rate. There is a video posted on our web site which is pretty fun to watch


Other equipment we are working on:


Vortex Roaster

Cacao beans are levitated and roasted in a swirling hot air vortex. Pyrex design allows visibility into the process. The extremely efficient heat transfer and low thermal inertia of this design allow unique roast profiles not possible on other systems. The design also features a digital temperature profile controller, automatic PC data-logging, graphing and quality control report for every batch. 



4 to 8 Large diameter spheres revolving in a toroidal track. More efficient than classic roller mélangeurs, while being very easy to clean and fascinating to watch. 

Linear Conche

Modern version of the classic Lindt linear roller conche. Available in single and twin systems. There is something mesmerizing about a slow moving longitudinal conche.


Ball Attritor Mill

Chocolate is quickly milled by grinding balls as the mass moves in a swirling toroidal motion pattern instead of a closed pot. 

We are doing our own thing, making friends and enjoying ourselves along the way. Unique engineering skills + a passion for cacao seem to be the general formula for most people we have met so far in this industry. Would love to hear comments on what we are working on.


Daniel Preston

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Very cool stuff, I can't wait to see the other machines.
YES ... exciting INdeed!
wow - that makes winnowing look really cool. Price?


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