The Chocolate Life

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Removing cocoa from the roaster

This was one of the last time we would remove the beans by hand. The drum was hot so we bought a shop vac to use only for the moving of cocoa.

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Comment by Langdon Stevenson on April 2, 2009 at 7:26am
Thanks for the explanation, it is much appreciated. It is great to see this sort of ingenuity being displayed and shared.
Comment by holycacao on April 2, 2009 at 12:09am
Sure since it's now a museum piece in the factory. Its a gas maytag that we bought used about 10 yrs old. It really helps if you know a maytag repair guy to show where all the different thermostats are and also the proper way to dismantle the machine, We basically cut all of the internal thermostats from the machine, bought a cheap oven thermostat and wired it directly to the gas burner's thermostat. Those were the initial modifications. There were several other mods that had to be made after using the machine for a while. The dryer is not a closed drum, but a cylinder that is held in place by the wheels and the track. We found broken beans would fall in between the cracks and under the drum - which is quite close to the burner-unacceptable. In the beginning we were roasting at 150 c which did not affect the plastic door, but once we got the temp to 200 the door started to melt, so replace door with a sheet metal. There were a lot of small mods here and there that are also important, better ventilation for the motor, redirecting the hot air to hit the beans- the paddles that move the cocoa- the factory installed ones break the beans but the broken nibs are well roasted, not burnt. We opted to take them out and use a different approach.

In short it was a fun project and gave solid roasting results. There was a lot more we were going to do with it, but the amount of time it took reengineering the maytag eventually ended the project- replacing the motor was the nail in the coffin for us. I should mention that it is the cheapest way that I know of to roast evenly large amounts of beans. the optimal batch size for this roaster was around 12kg and in 45 min, the beans were very evenly roasted.
Comment by Langdon Stevenson on April 1, 2009 at 6:38pm
Hi HC. That is really interesting. Can you tell us more about your roaster?
Comment by Paul Mosca on March 30, 2009 at 10:42am
That rocks! I never thought using a gas dryer for roasting. That is so cool!

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