Once you have a list of equipment that will be suitable (regarding size, capacity and so on) keep an eye on the auction sites and you may find things turn up for you. There is an argument for buying new so that the equipment is less likely to let you down - your call I guess.
Maybe you could trade beans for equipment if cash flow is a problem? That might appeal to companies/people that are upgrading.
This sounds like a really exciting project. Love to hear more details about your farm and your plans.
I am working with another company here in Australia to put together a complete set of machinery for small scale production (approximately 50 to 150kg per week capacity). The aim is to operate these plants in various South Pacific nations, so this might be suited to your situation. There are a few questions to ask though, probably the most important (as Duffy alluded to) is what is your budget?
The company that I am working with are considering various micro-finance and leasing arrangements to help make this system affordable to small groups, so perhaps we can offer some options to you.
Do you have a market in mind for your finished product? It may be possible to tie you in with our partners trading system.
PS - I note in the Hershey thread that you mentioned extracting cocoa butter, we are currently prototyping a micro hydraulic press for cocoa butter extraction (processing up to 150kgs of liquor per day) as part of our system.
No final figure yet, but, I think that US$1,000 per kilogram is likely.
The system will be covering all of the steps listed above (as well as pressing cocoa butter), but capable of being deployed in segments as well. Some of the applications in the South Pacific will only require the first four steps.
Wow this is great! First is the 50 to 150kg per week in raw beans per week? We are currently roasting at 65kg raw beans per day. Do I get it right that you have a system for the process Clay described that would cost us about 65,000 USD for a 65 kg per day capacity? Please clarify.
And also we are very much interested on your microfinance or leasing scheme. Could you give us a complete proposal so we can think over it? Would you consider barter system of payment where we could supply you of our finished products?
Thanks for your interest. Sorry for my lack of clarity. Yes, we are aiming for under USD $1000 per kg per week. We expect that whole system should allow two people to produce at least 50kg of finished chocolate from a weeks labour, however, it may be possible (with more labour) to produce more. The cocoa butter press for instance could consume up to 150kgs of cocoa liquor per day, capacities can be very hard to match. So the complete system should cost somewhere round USD $50,000. How much product you can squeeze through is then up to you and how much energy you put into it :-)
Note that this system is not currently complete, it is in development. So a final price and specification is still some months away.
since this is an old thread I hope you'll know about my little comment here;)
I stumbled upon this conversation while looking for just the type of chocolate producing machinery you describe -
small scale, starting from the bean, yet complete to get a really nice result.
so, if you still can offer this kind of machinery, I would love to know more about it and receive some detalled information, prices, etc.
This is Juan Pablo Büchert, we are a small Farm in Costa Rica (40.000 Kg of beans/year). I wonder if your system is already complete. We are interested in developing a small scale industrial process (liquor, butter and powder, for chocolate we shall see).