This is in response to another discussion that was started over in the Classifieds group asking about the cost of setting up a small confectionery kitchen.
There is a lot of interest in making chocolate from beans, both in-country and out. There are many challenges, not least of which is securing the necessary equipment. It's easy and relatively inexpensive to find equipment for the kitchen hobbyist making 5lb-5kg batches.
It's also easy (but expensive) to find equipment that can be used to make large batches (1MT) at a time.
However, it's not so easy to find equipment for most everything in between that is both affordable and where each piece is scaled to the same throughput.
Yes, there are "turn key" systems you can purchase that are scaled properly. These might cost anywhere from $80-100k on the low end, for a system roughly capable of up to 50 kg/day up to 100,000 Euros for something capable of producing between 250-400kg/day.
It's also possible to piece together systems using a combination of commercially available machinery and home-grown pieces where needed, but this requires a certain mechanical ingenuity that not everyone possesses or has the patience for.
Jim Lucas over in the thread in Classifieds, asked about what it takes to produce in-country (in Jim's case, Brazil).
New member James Swanwick asked a very good related question, which is how much does it cost to produce a single bar of chocolate. Another way to ask this question - which may be more useful - is, "What is the minimum level of production (and sales) you need to get to in order to have a real (i.e., sustainable) business?
I am really looking forward to the discussion on this.
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
updated by @clay: 04/10/15 08:16:03AM