Does anyone have any opinions about the Diamond Custom Machines melangers (70 lb or 100 lb)? Many thanks.
My opinion: Almost all chocolate today is not made with stone wheel grinders because it is old, and inefficient technology. You can't even buy new industrial equipment with stone wheels (even replacement parts are hard to get).
My experience: Most craft chocolate is gritty (and unpleasant to me) because the granite wheels cannot get the chocolate down to the smallest particle size in a reasonable amount of time.
Clay can put you in touch with a manufacturer that offers a much better solution - a solution that is specifically designed for refining chocolate - even on a small scale like 100lbs.
You can also get in touch with me at Brad@Choklat.com I am in the process of becoming a dealer of machines I've been using for 9 years now. You will be pleasantly surprised at the price of the machines, and, like I said, I have been using them for 9 years. They are rock solid.
I've only heard good things about the Diamond grinders, and raves about the customer service.
As with any stone-based grinder, my guess is that it will take a fair amount of time--possibly an unreasonable amount of time, as Brad mentions, depending on your process and other requirements--to refine to a smooth texture. It's definitely do-able--I haven't found that most craft chocolate I've tried to be particularly gritty--but it does take time.
I believe the machines Brad mentions are some form of a universal (please correct me if I'm mistaken). I've had some excellent chocolate out of universals, too, and they're definitely an option to look at, as well.