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Hey All,

I'm wondering if, while using the same machine, folks increase their refining times linearly proportional to increased chocolate batch sizes.  I use a Santha Spectra 11 melanguer.  For the last year, I've been making 2-5 lb batches of chocolate and have observed that my best chocolates from a taste and texture standpoint have been in the Santha for about 5-6 hours per pound of chocolate.  I recently refined my first 9 lb batch of chocolate for 41 hours, which is about 4.5 hours per pound.  This chocolate has a noticeable bitter bite at the beginning/front-end of tasting it, but fortunately finishes quite nicely.

I'm questioning myself as to whether I should've melangued it for 45-54 hours (the 5-6 hour per pound range) as maybe it didn't conche long enough (or whether it was simply the beans.)  I think I roasted the beans quite well as the nibs were tasty, slighty crunchy, and not chewy, but there was some bitterness.

I haven't forked out the cash to read the $200+ Minifie or Beckett books so I'm not sure where else to learn this info.

What have any of you observed?  Would you scale-up, in the same machine, linearly as a function of refining time versus weight of chocolate?  Have you observed something not so linear to successfully make larger batches of chocolate in the same machine?

Any guidance, feedback, or advice would definitely be appreciated!


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Replies to This Discussion

Hi dave,
I just made another test this weekend. Well i basically use this parameters as an indication. In the end I go by tasting after all. Also I have to say i believe using weight for calculating time only works for refinining particel size not for conching. At conching i believe it's hard to go by time per weight.
The 80% i came up due to the fact that if you fill the spectra up to 5 or more lbs the time is very long therefore the 80%. The structure looks already good and smooth at the 80% i believe.
But also i have to admit I'm not making chocolate for a long time and therefore I'm still trying out different ways. Which is why i like this website a lot. To share experience, belives and i sights. And I can learn a lot feom better experienced persons here.
Thanks for your inputs!


I agree with you Andy.  I only use my time per weight metric for refining, but not for conching so much.  Other chocolate makers have suggested to me in the past that they prefer to conche for a minimum of 48 hours.  That's what I've basically been doing since.

What is your style of chocolate making out of curiosity?  I tend to make 70 - 85% dark chocolate using cocoa beans and sugar only.  However, I've tried adding flavor-infused cocoa butter.  Also, I occasionally top my chocolate bars with nibs or salt.


Hi Dave,
I also do mostly dark chocolate with around 70% of cocoa mass, only sugar added.
I started to experiment a bit with vanilla and will start to experiment with cocoa butter (without flavour, just for the smoothness of the chocolate). I personally like it pure, just cocoa and sugar. But if I can make a very balanced chocolate with little vanilla and/or cocoa butter then I think that's a good way too. Until today I'm stuck at chocolate making without toppings or nuts or similar things added. But it's on my bucket list :)

How was your flavor-infused chocolate? Artifical taste or good taste?


Shoot!  I forgot to reply Andy.  Sorry.

My flavor-infused chocolate turned out fairly well.  I infused some fatali peppers from my garden into some cocoa butter and made some very spicy chocolate bars out then.  They left some heat in your mouth for about 5 minutes, but didn't burn your lips which was nice.

I'm thinking of trying cayenne peppers next.


Hi Dave,

i forgot to ask you one thing:

When do you add your flavors into the chocolate? I mean at what stage?
Also do you add it in form of very fine grained substance or in which form are the flavours added?

That would interest me, as I only have experience with straight chocolate (without anything else that cacao, sugar, cacaobutter or vanille).

Best, Andy

Hey Andy,

I've been infusing peppers into melted cocoa butter overnight.  The next morning, I strain out the peppers leaving the cocoa butter with the spice (capsaicin) and pepper flavor.  I set the infused cocoa butter aside in a cool, dark, and dry location to re-solidify until I need it. (Stored in a Mason jar.)

Independent of that process, I make my chocolate (beans and sugar only).  Let the chocolate "age" (sit for a month or so in a stainless hotel pan...untempered).

Then, when I temper the chocolate, I add in 4-8% of the infused cocoa butter to the tempering machine.  I usually let the tempering machine run/mix longer than typical at 108F (prior to following the dark chocolate temperature curve), so the cocoa butter and chocolate mixture has a greater chance to homogenize.

Hopefully that makes sense!!


Hi Dave,

thanks for your input. That might help me once I will start with infused and flavored chocolate.
To me it pretty sounds like it makes sense.

Thanks & Best,



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