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I just got my CocoaT Melanger yesterday, so this is my very time making chocolate properly.

For my first trial I use 380g of cocoa beans, I added in 163g of cane sugar to make it 70% dark chocolate. Three hours later I taste it, it's bitter sweet, and I want it to be a little sweeter, but I ran out of cane sugar but I got brown sugar, added 90 g in to make it 60%, I went to sleep and woke up the next morning (12 hours) letting it process. The liquid is smooth, but not that chocolate smooth I would get in normal chocolate, and it also doesn't have the color of a processed chocolate. 

Is it the brown sugar that's causing the problem? Or 12 hours of conching is not enough for this 633g chocolate batch I'm making.

It also have a sour taste to it, can this problem be solved by letting it rest for 2-3 weeks before tempering?

Thank you so much in advance for your advice!

Tags: conching, sour, sugar, taste, time

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Hi Panod,

Congratulations on your first batch! Here are a few ideas that come to mind regarding viscosity and sweeteners: 

I believe brown sugar has a higher water content than regular sugar. This may cause the chocolate to seize and can explain the change you saw after adding the additional sugar. If the chocolate is too strong, you can always add additional cocoa butter instead of adding more sugar. It will help the chocolate flow better.  Of the 5 batches I've done so far, the best one was the first, with 55% nibs, 15% cacao butter, 30% and just half a vanilla bean. At the end of conching (about 12-15 hours) it was good, two week later it was just fantastic and creamy. 

All the best, 


Thank you Felipe! So if any ingredient I put into the melanger that have a higher water content, it could cause the chocolate to seize up more? So if I put honey in, the chocolate it would turn out to have a higher viscosity than brown sugar? Sadly I have no access to cocoa butter, can I put in more cocoa nibs instead? May I know how big is your first batch? And this question I always wonder, when you leave your chocolate do you leave it outside? Or you put it in a fridge for 2 weeks. I live in a hot humid country, so I put my crack cocoa beans and conched chocolate into the fridge, would it be alright? Thank you Felipe, I've learn loads of stuff today! :D

Hi Panod, 

You want to avoid water content as it is chocolate's worst enemy. The beans and sugar do have a very slight amount of water which is what you want goes off during conching and is also bound to lecithin. Do not use honey, it has a MUCH higher water content or even think of adding fresh fruit and the like. 

My first batch was about 200g of nibs; I thought I'd start small but learnt it was good to do bigger batches (1kg+) considering the time spent to refine and conch. I can't really answer your fridge question for storing finished chocolate as I live in a cool and dry place, but do warm those nibs and everything else you use to 120-160f as it will make it easier on the machine to release the fat butter. 



Brown sugar will indeed add moisture to your chocolate, which can be a problem.  I'd say, generally speaking, just make sure you've got enough white sugar on hand before you start 8)  however, now that you've got brown sugar in it, here's what I'd try:

1) if it's not 'chunky' (rather just sandy feeling) let the grinder run for another 24 hours.  if you've got the ability to run it in a 'hot' area (lets say 30-35C), do so, with the top off the grinder.

2) additionally, you didn't mention anything about lecithin.  If you  have some, add 0.5% of fluid lecithin after you run the grinder for another 12 hours.  that'll give time for the water to evaporate off, and the lecithin will help bind up any remaining water.

Thank you Felipe and Sebastian for your advice, those tips and tricks solve all of my problems thank you!

Thanks to all three of you,  I buy and sell cacao nibs and paste and last week decide to buy the CocoaT melanger as well.  Our first batch we used a kilo of benian cacao paste and and ran that for about 6 hours before adding any sugar into it.  We used brown sugar and then let it run for another 12 hours.  We have now tried 3 batches and with your notes now have a clear understanding of what to do for batch number 4.

When we use our small melanger, it takes a good amount of time to get smooth chocolate and are you blowing in warm air to help evaporate acids and moisture? Also. Invest in a micrometer, digital version, less than 40 bucks. Test your batch periodically. We find on the small melanger it takes often 30 hours or so to get down to 20 microns, which is your target for smooth chocolate.
Adding lecithin or added cocoa butter is also often needed, depends how much of a purist you are. Without that however you will find it hard to get a real fluid and homogenized batch.

May I know how long and how often should I blow in the warm air? I use a hair dryer, and I use it like 5-6 times for a period of 5-10 seconds during the start of the conch and didn't blow in any hot air again until finish. My finished product still have acid taste in them, may I know how long do you blow in warm air?

Seems like I have to invest in a cocoa butter press then, for in this country there are no cocoa butter available.

Thank you Richard for your advice!

Hello Richard,  I was following this post as we have also started using the CocaoT melanger and are learning a lot from this post.  I am looking for a micrometer and would appreciate any suggestions (such as online stores and brands), on where I can find one. 


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