Takes vision and gumption to do what you are doing.
I've been out to Lincs before: are you near Boston?
I'm in Ottawa, Canada and am investigating whether to launch myself. While I have some experience in the food processing industry, chocolate is a new world for me so it'll take time to get up to speed.
That's it's great to learn more about your new venture, especially the lessons learned !
Also, love to learn a bit more about the type and costs of equipment you have - I'm working on a internal business plan.
My idea to start extremely small scale for the first year, then to surge as experience, quality and sales mandate. Much the same, I suspect, as what the Rogue Chocolatier is doing.
While still a rookie, one thing on the plus column is that I will be traveling a few times a year to central america/ Caribbean, so hope to develop (& share) some good direct trade bean sources.
I watched the "Rogue" video and think I may have actually bought both the manual and electric bean breaker and the winnower from them - must check my records.
I have been (sorry...) getting equipment and premises together over the last year and hope the finally get the last piece wired up tomorrow so that I can start my first semi-official batch of chocolate. I have some excellent beans ready to roast and turn into chocolate. Those who've tasted it (including the Academy of Chocolate in London) seem to like it. Next step is marketting. Are you doing something similar? Happy to answer any questions.