Help with some chocolate machinery info, please
Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
That's helpful David - thank you.
A couple of thoughts, if I may.
Roasting - while i have not used the Inox directly, i suspect it's a perfectly suitable piece of equipment. I also suspect that it's more than you require, and i might recommend a Binder oven as an alternative. Fantastically good temperature control and heat distribution for a fraction of the price. Regardless of the oven you select, i'd recommend having your machine shop fabricate some standardized roasting trays to hold a fixed amount at a fixed depth with airflow through the bottom. This will help you with your oven 'recovery' time (when you open the doors and put x amount in, your temperature will drop - the amount of time it takes the oven to come back to it's set temperature is it's recovery time, and is very useful in creating a standardized assessment method).
Winnowing - again, it probably a perfectly suitable unit, but if you're open to it, you can build something equally as suitable for 1/5 of the price yourself. Now, part of what you may want this lab to be is a showcase as well - meaning looks are important - if that's the case, i'd stick with purchasing the commercial unit as a DIY winnower - while as effective, isn't likely to look as nice.
Disc mill - perfectly suitable. why do you want this? you've got a ball mill listed later, which i'm assuming you want to use to make chocolate liquor. A disc mill is going to perform the same task as a ball mill. Not sure you need both. An alternative to both of them i might recommend is a colloid mill. a number of years ago i was looking for a suitable milling operation that i could install in the jungle anywhere in the world, and i secured a JML colloid mill literally off of ebay to test it. very cost effective, and while it required me to clean the living daylights out of it beofre i used it, i found it to be a remarkably robust, easy to operate, and efficient piece of equipment for making liquor.
Roll Refiner - i'd recommend testing this unit before you buy it to ensure it can achieve sufficient particle size reduction. Some 3 roll refiners don't have sufficient tensioning built into them to get to small particle size (20um - some of them struggle with achieving even 50 um).
Tempering - if you're going to be doing 5kg batches, it frankly might be easier to hand temper them. A good hot plate, an aluminum rectangular pan, and your cooling tunnel will enable this. There are a number of small batch tempering units that are in that 5kg size range that cost $1-2k that are suitable as well.
You also want to give some consideration to how are you going to cool your chocolate once it's been tempered. This can be as simple as modifying a refrigeration unit to be suitable for chocolate, but in your environment, tempering without cooling will be very problematic for you.
Any refractometer you get should have at least a 0-30 brix range - anything higher than 30 isn't going to be useful for you, assuming you're going to use it to assess cocoa pulp. Not sure what you're going to do with a hygrometer. Other useful pieces of equipment, assuming you're also going to be working with the cocoa beans, include a set of good stick thermometers, a field portable pH meter, and i'd strongly recommend somerthing called a Dickey John mini GAC+ to allow you to do rapid cocoa bean moisture analysis. If you're going to be working in the field with fermentation and drying, i might also suggest a good set of data loggers that record both temperature and humidity.