I am a new member and new to the chocolate world altogether. I have been researching this industry for quite some time and would like to begin making RAW organic (naturally sweetened) chocolate bars (im a certified holistic nutritionist, so had to take this route!).
Thanks to many of your forum submissions, I have learned quite a bit about how to more or less get started. I have spent a particular amount of time researching equipment that would be needed to start this venture. I see how there is very little in between hobbyist equipment and equipment used for large volume production. For somebody starting out with very limited funds (finished school a couple months ago), I guess I have to stay within the "hobbyist" category, even though I intend on large scale production eventually.
I've read many opinions about the Chocovision tempering machine (1 & 2) and Mol d'art melter, and have weighed both pros and cons. I think going with a melter would probably best suit my needs for what I want to do. These seem to be the only 2 machines within the same price point. I did however, come across another machine that I would like some opinions on: The Chocoa 6KG Stainless Steel Melter from Qzina in Toronto http://www.qzina.com/content/6kg-stainless-steel-melter-0.
I have not heard about this machine and cant find any reviews, so thought I would get some expert advice from this group.
Any other advice or tips on getting started would also be most welcomed. Thank you!
I can't say for sure, but the Qzina looks exactly like the Mol d'art melter. Perhaps a re-branded item? I have used both the Chocovision machines and the Mol d'art melting tank, and both are serviceable machines. As you are probably well aware, the Chocovision machines automatically temper the chocolate (with only the adding/removing of seed at a prompt, and some pushing of buttons). They also keep the chocolate agitated. The Mol d'art machine will hold the chocolate at a continuous temperature (although my Mol d'art's thermostat dial is not accurate, and I need to use a thermometer to hold the chocolate at a particular temperature). You must manually temper the chocolate in the Mol d'art (either in the tank, heating it up, adding seed, cooling it down, and holding it at working temperature) or tabling out of the tub and putting it back in. For what it's worth, it can take a considerable amount of time stirring the tub of chocolate while seeding and trying to cool it to the desired crystallizing temperature. With the Chocovision machines, you can be doing other things while it agitates itself. The Mol d'art will make a larger batch of tempered chocolate than the Cocovision machines you are considering, which is a plus, but will take more work to get it/keep it in temper--especially if you're working in it throughout the day. I now use several of the Rev Delta machines (I quickly outgrew the Chocovision 2), and find them quite reliable and simple to use.
Best of luck in your new adventure,
Thanks for your reply Dale. I considered the Rev 1 or 2 because they are actually tempering machines, where the mol d'art is a melter, however, some discussions on this site have stated that even though the rev 1 & 2 automatically agitate, there is still some manual labour involved, including stirring at times, so might as well go with a melter...that and the mol d;art seem to be built better with less noise and problems, and easier to pour into molds??? Im still up in the air. my budget is in and around $500, so not too many options
Yes, the Mol d'art is trouble free, quiet, and easy to clean. The chocolate in either machine can be poured into molds fairly easily (I use a plastic ladle). The Mol d'art does have the advantage of having a larger open tub, so it is easier to scrape the molds off over that machine without undue mess (the Chocovision has a relatively small half circle of pan to aim for). The Chocovision machines are fairly noisy. One gets used to it after a while, but it is definitely a great "white noise" machine. Strangely, their smaller machines seem noisier than the larger ones. I've not had to stir the chocolate in a Chocovision machine (beyond perhaps a quick stir to incorporate the surface chocolate prior to dipping--if it has been sitting for some time). Because the Chocovision has moving parts, it does have more mechanical problems--principally with the baffle, scraper, and the teeny little prongs that are easily bent that plug the baffle thermostat into the base of the machine. For what it's worth, the larger Chocovision machines don't have this connection design fault, and have run for me all day long for a couple of years with no problems. I started with the Rev 2, then got a Mol d'art, and now primarily use the Rev Deltas. Hillard's makes a similar machine that gets good reviews for reliability, but both of these options costs considerably more than the $500 budget you indicate. In retrospect, I would have preferred to have saved my money on the Rev 2 and Mol d'art, and purchased a machine that actually could support increased production from the start. Life is full of compromises...
I am a fan of the Mol D'Art 6kg melter over the chocovision. It's the perfect size for making molded pieces. I have made thousands of chocolates from this melter. These days I have an enrober, but when I need to make a small quantity of chocolate I still turn to the Mol d'art melter. I actually use it almost daily. I keep melted chocolate on hand at all times in that thing. Even as your business grows the melter will still be active.
THanks for the info Dan. Does the mol d'art require that much more manual labour (agitation) than the chocovision revolations?
I may also consider the ACMC but reviews on that one are so so.
You do need to stir the chocolate from time to time. There are no moving parts to the melter. It also helps to have a heat gun nearby to maintain the right consistency of the chocolate. It really is not a lot of work. The Mol D'art melter will make you very confident in your ability to temper chocolate. I really don't have experience using the other machines -- including chocovision. I would invest in a piece of equipment that you will still use even as your business grows.
Hi Dale, not related to this posting but just out of curiosity, how much did you produce with both the Chocovision 2 and the Rev Delta?
My truffles tend to be in batches of 80-100 pieces. The Revolation 2 makes enough tempered chocolate to coat one batch (then needs to be refilled, and re-tempered--taking about 1/2 hour). The Rev Delta can coat 6 batches before refilling (another ~1/2 hour process). The Rev Delta also has an optional "holey baffle," which supposedly allows you to melt and temper about 17 pounds of chocolate at a time (7 more than the normal baffle)--so this would, I suppose, give me another 4 batches before refilling. If you are doing fairly small batches, the Revolation 2 may be best, as the Delta requires a minimum of 3 pounds of chocolate. I think, however, that the Delta is better designed--with better machine to baffle connectors, and a nice extended temper mode that will keep the chocolate in temper all day (with brief pauses in production every 65 minutes).
All the best,
Back to my original question: I spoke with a rep from Qzina and they informed me the Chocoa 6KG Stainless Steel Melter is there own brand of melters. Right now they are offering the melter for $299 with the purchase of 2 cases of Chocoa chocolate (also there own brand of chocolate). Sounds like a pretty good deal. I may have to go with a melter instead of a temperer as some members have suggested I will still have a need for a melter in my production down the road. Thanks all!
Just curious to know if you ended up buying the Qzina Melter. If so, what are your impressions? I am considering buying a melter from Qzina as well, but there is another manufacturer called Bakon that sells a melter that's comparable in size. It's called the MTD 1-2-3 Mini. It's more expensive than the Qzina, so I'm still not sure if I will buy that one. Just wanted to know your thoughts. Thanks!
I'm a hobbyist moving to a business and I bought a used ACMC on EBay for $500 about 3 months ago because my Rev2 is too small. I was warned not to because it wasn't automatic and it uses 100W lightbulbs which are supposed to be banned soon.
I love Love LOVE it!
It's not automatic like the Rev 2, so you have to keep an eye on it to change the temp setting, but I'm in the kitchen anyway. There's a spot on the baffle for a probe thermometer which cost me $15 so I get an alarm whenever the chocolate reaches a certain temp.
It's kind of easy to clean. The bowl and baffle are dishwasher safe (awesome) but I wish I could take the thing apart, throw the case in the dishwasher and hand clean the inside.
You can still find plenty of 100W lightbulbs, especially at the dollar stores! Companies are now making 95W bulbs to get around the ban. Plus, I read you can use ceramic heating elements. I also read it's not hard to fix at home.
Here's how I temper with the ACMC, and it took me a few tries. Pre-melting chocolate in the microwave saves a lot of time. Bring the chocolate up to 115 (or whatever the highest temp you want to use) and hold it there for at least 10 minutes. Then bring the temp down and only hold it for two minutes. Then bring the temp up and hold it for another 10 minutes. No stirring required.
I've seen them go as low as $350 now on EBay. It's a lot of bang for your buck.