alternatives to champion juicer

Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
01/22/14 09:27:44PM
21 posts

Hey Chocophiles,

Ive been doing more and more, playing at home with small batches of beans. <3#. I still dont have a way to make a proper liquor. Doing it in the melanguer, is....far from good and requires babysitting for ~45 minutes....

I was wondering at how well a Wondermill JR or a peanut butter machine would work? The Wondermill JR has a small youtube clip saying it does mash it up, but I was wondering how well that paste processes in a melangeur.

Cheers all!


updated by @alan-caldwell: 04/09/15 12:25:39PM
Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
01/23/14 09:38:42AM
191 posts

There's a video of the Wondermill JR grinding cacao here:

http://www.willitgrind.com/willitgrind/cacao-nibs

Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
01/23/14 03:27:49PM
21 posts

Ben, Thanks for posting up, I appreciate it.

I know you can, but how well does it work? It seems to me, the paste that comes out of the wondermill, is about the same consistency as when the nibs start to "gunk up" and stick when grinding them in he melangeur.

Has anyone tried a peanut butter grinder?

Cheers

Alan

Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
01/23/14 04:01:17PM
191 posts

Sorry, just noticed that you referenced the youtube video in your original post. Not sure how I missed that...

I've used the Olde Tyme Peanut Butter Grinder in the past. The results were about the same as shown in the Wondermill video, although much faster.

The only thing that I've tried that actually made liquor--as opposed to a thick paste--was a food processor. It worked really well until I burnt up the motor. In another thread here, Clay mentions Vertical Cutter Mixers (VCMs) for pregrinding. They're basically just big, heavy-duty food processors.

I've also thought about using a grain mill like are used for beer brewing. One I've looked at is one of the Monster Mills, which are adjustable from0 to .065" according to their site:

http://www.monsterbrewinghardware.com/mm-320.html

Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
01/23/14 04:01:41PM
21 posts

Well......

I called Pleasent Hill Grain Nut Butter Machines (http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/nut_butter_machine.aspx), at one point they did do a test with cocoa nibs (they couldnt remeber the size of the peices, but I think to us its its irrelavent), and she said, it comes out like a chocolate cake batter. Then hardens after 30 minutes or so.

Do what you will with the info....

Cheers

Alan

Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
01/23/14 04:07:46PM
191 posts

Cake batter consistency would be great, but it's not what I got when using one. I've spoken with another maker who was using one for a while, too, and their results were more like what I was getting than cake batter.

Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
01/23/14 04:08:07PM
21 posts

Ben,

It seems we think alike. I ran across the monter brewing website a few weeks ago, too. Its more than I want to spend for a small hobby, but maybe?????

I must admit though, Im curious to know how well the monster mill grinds....ugh, I hate being curious. Any idea how the steel roller, grab the dry nibs? It seems like they might just spin ans spin and spin.....That being said, it works for the barley/wheat which are possibly larger and harder, and drier(?)?

Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
01/23/14 04:14:27PM
191 posts

My concern isn't that it will grab the nibs--I think the gap between the first two rollers should handle that fine--so much as how fine it will actually grind.

Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
01/23/14 04:15:03PM
21 posts

I kind of expected to hear that results may vary. The machine I called Pleasant Hills about is a huge commercial machine, $2500....so its probably got a bit more robust grinding system than a small tabletop unit. Its made to make smooooth butters.

Did you ever try putting the "paste" through the home table top butter maker again? Wondering if a second time round would yield better results.

What kind of food processor did/do you use? Im a CuisinArt fan, but I remember Chocolate Alchemy saying some just dont cut it.

Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
01/23/14 04:18:18PM
191 posts

I was using the PN1 version, which was the older version of the PN2 you linked to. I got it used, but it went for over $2k new.

I tried, but wasn't able to effectively feed the paste through the grinder again.

I'm not sure what brand of food processor it was. Sorry.

Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
01/23/14 04:28:48PM
21 posts

hmmmm...

did you have/try new, grinding burrs? being used, it could have been worn. Just trying to figure out where/how the differences in results came from. Model? Used burrs?

Im leary about a Champion juicer because from the little reading Ive done on CA, it sounds like the juicer (parts) will/do wear out within a relatively short time. 100#? 1000#?

anyways a small machine like that is out of my league for home use! maybe a small p-b maker. Having burnt out a belt on my melangeur trying to do make the liquor IN the melangeur, I think its time I do it properly.

Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
01/23/14 04:38:10PM
21 posts

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Automatic-continuous-Hammer-Mill-Herb-Grinder-pulverizer-machine-25KG-per-hour-/150975226935?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2326d32437

and / or

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/NEW-Vertical-Sesame-soybean-Peanut-Butter-colloid-mill-grinder-JML-65-/160992669808?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item257be93070

as I try to wrap my mind around what we are doing, I realize that what we are doing needs to be measured. The final product needs to be <30microns, but not everything is measured the same way. Not everything can produce a set of standards that will tell you how a machine will perform. Not everything has the same standard, like the p-b machine. It may only apply "x" amount of force, and produce "x" size particles. But then there is the variables. A cocoa nib has "x" density and requires "x" force and heat to create "x" product....

Aint life funny

Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
01/24/14 08:22:54AM
191 posts

I never replaced the grinding plates, but have spoken with another chocolate maker who used a new PN2 version. Their results were similar to mine.

For most of the time I've been making chocolate, I've just put the nibs straight into the melanger. The belts that come in the melangers are basically terrible. They almost always break and need to be replaced. I replaced mine with power-twist fiberglass link belts, as recommended in several posts here on TCL and on the Chocolate Alchemy forums, and have not had a problem with them since. Also, warming the bowl, roller stones and nibs helps a lot.

Clay Gordon
@clay
01/26/14 04:19:12PM
1,680 posts

Alan -

I think the point is that at the scale you're working at now, anything larger or more expensive than the WonderMill Wonder Junior just doesn't make sense. It's about $250 with the drill attachment, though I would try to motorize it using the optional pulley) and you're not going to get better price/performance in a pre-grinder.

This doesn't make a "proper" liquor. However, anything you can do to reduce the particle size before you put it in your melangeur is going to speed the process up considerably. As Ben notes, warming the stones gently is also a good idea (use a small resistance heater that doesn't get hotter than about 100F, put it in the bowl a couple of hours before you want to use the melangeur - or overnight - and cover with something that will help keep the heat in.

From a tech perspective I think colloid mills are a better bet for oily products like cacao than hammer mills. I would be careful, however, about buying machines from China. There's a thread on the new melangeur from Kudvic where Victor talks about some of the issues he had with Chinese-made machines that led to his developing his. His experience echoes mine pretty closely.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Dave Huston
@dave-huston
01/26/14 06:13:09PM
4 posts

Ben,

Have you managed to try out the Robot Coupe VCM on your nibs yet? If so, how did it go?

Dave

Carlos Eichenberger
@carlos-eichenberger
01/26/14 08:32:44PM
158 posts

Here in Guatemala a lot of people use Nixtamal grinders to grind cacao. There are many models for sale in the US. There's a video in my profile about artisanal cocoa butter where you can see one in operation. Check around the 1:30 mark.

Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
01/27/14 08:51:54AM
191 posts

Dave,

Nope, I haven't gotten one yet.

Ben

mda@umgdirectresponse.com
@michael-arnovitz
01/27/14 01:45:11PM
59 posts

This is probably outside of your budget, and I haven't seen anyone else do this, butScott Witherow at Olive & Sinclair uses (or at least used to use) a Mexican corn mill. Check out the attached video at about the 1:25 mark. Looks like it works fairly well too.

http://vimeo.com/7968657

Carlos Eichenberger
@carlos-eichenberger
01/27/14 03:28:41PM
158 posts

Yep, Mexican corn mill = Nixtamal

Clay Gordon
@clay
01/27/14 07:03:37PM
1,680 posts

The machine shown in the video Olive and Sinclair video is fairly large and couldn't be considered a replacement for a Champion juicer. What you're probably looking for is a tabletop appliance like the Nixtamatic. Here's a video of one in action. Still hands-on, but not so much as the Champion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G1b86GU6ug




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Robert O'Byrnes
@robert-obyrnes
01/31/14 06:39:34PM
9 posts

Cheebs, is the Nixtamal grinder that you are referring to have metal disc or is it using stone wheels for grinding?

Robert


updated by @robert-obyrnes: 09/09/15 11:24:06PM
Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
02/24/14 02:28:13PM
191 posts

I've recently purchased a 20-cup Cuisinart food processor. The motor specs are roughly comparable to the Robot Coupe I was looking at, but it has a larger capacity and is less expensive. It also has overheating protection to avoid burning out the motor.

I used it for the first time over the weekend on a small (approx. 1.5 kilo) test batch. It easily pre-ground the nibs to a gritty, but runny, liquor in about 5 minutes.

Afterwards, the motor housing was cool to the touch. It has an internal fan for the motor and the air blowing out of the vents never noticeably warmed.

I will be doing some more tests to figure out a few things. I imagine that theres a point of diminishing returns, where it no longer makes sense to keep running the liquor in the food processor.

-Ben

Dave Huston
@dave-huston
02/24/14 06:13:42PM
4 posts

Thanks Ben that's good to know!! I'll be curious to hear how long it eventually takes you with a much larger batch of nibs and whether it scales linearly. For instance, would 15 kilos take you 50 minutes? And then of course, it would be good to hear your impressions of the heat given off by the food processor after a much heavier load.

Dave

Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
02/24/14 06:23:43PM
21 posts

Im not surprised to hear the Cusinart does good. Ive used robo coupes for 20 years and I gotta be honest Ive never been impressed with their power (or is it power delivery). That being said they do take a good amount of abuse (Ive seen one vibrate off the counter and still run. Not bad for a #15 machine.) I do remember using a 20 year old Cusinart this past summer and I was impressed with it.

One of my beefs with the robo is the small bowl, yes there are different sizes. but the your well into the >$2500 range.

I know Clay suggested using a vertical mill chopper, Ive only used them a few times. Without trying it out, I would be hesitant to put my $$$ into one. For one thing youd have to keep stirring it with the built in stirrer. I do like the idea of the corn mill. Load a hopper, and watch it. Possibly less involved than the vertical mill.

just my 0.02$

Clay Gordon
@clay
02/24/14 06:42:06PM
1,680 posts

The point is that there are many options at many price levels for every budget and situation. I've seen vertical cutter mixers in production - so I know they work. You get very large batch capacity (compared with most food processors). Used, they can be had for $3500.

Perhaps ironically, I was told that the first Cuisinart food processors were private label Robot Coupes. Problem was, they never broke or wore out. So they were redesigned with smaller motors and in plastic.

Of the options, the Corona grain mill is the one I can't recommend even if motorized. These days they are made with cheap materials and, in particular, it's hard to put pressure on the grinding plates and get a consistent texture. That's from personas experience using them in Belize.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Alan Caldwell
@alan-caldwell
02/24/14 06:48:21PM
21 posts

" the first Cuisinart food processors were private label Robot Coupes "

hunh! I did not know that.

Vertical Cutter; good to know.

Corona mill; cheap materials- somehow i knew that might come out in the wash. I havent seen much quality in mid americanmanufacturing, IMHO.

thanks Clay

Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
02/24/14 07:57:21PM
191 posts

Hi Dave. I'll post the results when I do a larger batch.

Potomac Chocolate
@ben-rasmussen
02/24/14 08:22:18PM
191 posts

I've also heard from another maker who is using a VCM for pre-grinding in production. At some point, I'd love to upgrade to one for the larger bowl size.

Googling confirms that the original Cuisinarts were manufactured by Robot Coupe. Not so much that they stopped working together so Cuisinart could build in some plannedobsolescence. :)

Several of the reviews for the model I bought claimed that they had owned and abused it for many years. We'll see how it holds up to chocolate making... :)

Aura
@aura
02/05/17 10:30:34PM
17 posts

I found this thread interesting.  We have been making approx 80lbs of chocolate a week in two santhas.  We always pre grind the nibs using a champion juicer but we are looking at the next step.  I would agree that it comes out as a paste and not a liqour and, yes it does harden over time.  As obviously it would.  i know other bean to bar makers using peanut butter grinders and would like to hear more feedback on this.  Price wise 2.5k is a very little investment, but am open to other options to scale up and automate more.  I tried to do a search to find out what other small bean to bar makers are using.  

Clay Gordon
@clay
02/06/17 12:39:00PM
1,680 posts

Compatible Technology is a non-profit organization I have wanted to support since I first learned of them and I think their grinder could be a real good option for many startup makers. It's inexpensive - closer to a Corona mill than an Old Tyme peanut butter grinder even when motorized - and there is an option to buy one and donate one.

If you try this grinder ... please let us know how it works out!




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Beryl Wells Hamilton2
@beryl-wells-hamilton2
03/27/17 11:48:56AM
5 posts

Clay, Thanks very much for the link to Compatible Technologies International. We live in northern Minnesota, and they are in Saint Paul, so we drove to their headquarters last Wednesday to test their Ewing Grinder with Don Jacobsen, one of the founders. We ground about a pound of Venezuela roasted nibs (had to go to Target to get a hair dryer to heat the burr grinders and shaft first, and heated the nibs in the microwave, and after that, the grinder turned the nibs into a powder (probably because it was not completely heated, but a very fine powder) that we later added to our Premier Grinder. It worked great! We will purchase the machine and adapt it with a motor, but we are confident it's going to do a great job and save us a lot of time and energy. Will post more, with photos, when we get the machine. You can find out more on their web site. CTI is a wonderful company! 

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