Forum Activity for @Andy Ciordia

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
04/18/12 01:18:11PM
157 posts

Redipping bloomed chocolate


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

During Easter I had something similar happen to enrobed marshmallows. The first round was good, we did a second round and hey looked good but quickly went white after setting up. We let the machine run a while longer, and tested again and we were fine. We posited that we were not really ever fully in temper, that seeding had not totally occurred and while we got a fluke good batch, the majority needed more time to settle into a temper.

You can re-temper and coat them twice but that's going to give you one heck of a thick shell. I really doubt that the bloom will come through. Blooming doesn't really operate like that afaik.

Good luck and sorry to hear about this, nothing worse than doing a production run of something to find out an endemic problem with it all.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
04/18/12 01:26:59PM
157 posts

"We Eat With Our Eyes." Hmmmm.... I'm not convinced.


Posted in: Opinion

Fun discussion. We believe taste is paramount. Taste first, looks second. We don't do shelf-life, life is too short to sit on a shelf. Enjoy what you like come back later for more. We try very hard to source seasonal products from our region for our flavors and then step outside that when necessary. It's all a very pain in the ass when it comes to trying to get our product out to retailers as we have to switch it out every 2 weeks but it's who we are. If you want something that can sit on a shelf for a year go eat a flavored candle. ;)

Our cakes are the same way, we don't believe in fondant--if you want an architectural masterpiece that tastes like cardboard go elsewhere. If you want a real buttercream, cream cheese, fudge icing that makes you drool--step right up.

I was at a show the other day where this company had all molded chocolates and they were the most vibrant of colors and sparkles. They were beautiful in one regard but it was also very scary to me on another. I was thinking they had their work very process driven but it didn't seem very artisanal. Tasting one of them it was a thick shell with an air gap where they had pipped in the ganache and the ganache was stale and a bit waxy. Well wasn't that right on target. Looked great but hollow and stale. Kudos. hehe.

I'm a lover of all food, as long as it's good food! :D

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
07/24/12 02:05:42PM
157 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Deanne, that's still a very very small market and only concentrated in a few areas so far. Compare that to another market I strive to hit and still miss to large degrees--the vegan/vegetarian communities (Alternate Trend) and Paleo doesn't even rank.

The quest is never over. Tatiana found a few brandsI need to check in while at the Fancy Food show. Not sure if they are low or alternate sugared chocolate but worth some further research.

For most of our search in this area is for people who have medical issues. Paleo, Vegan, Raw, etc, are usually* choices.

* caveats always

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
04/18/12 01:31:36PM
157 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

We gave up at this point. It's cost prohibitive and taste prohibitive. Most alternate sugar chocolates taste like fake chocolate. Then you'll find that even though it's requested you're not going to sell a lot and you might have more of a waste cost than not. We try to preach to the sugar free requestors that moderation is the key. Just don't eat our food like junk food, test your insulin levels and behave. Young diabetics know this, older ones just want to over-indulge. Interesting behavioral stuff.

Wish you well on your search, at some point we'll have a diabetic artisanal chocolate maker that will solve this for all time.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
04/22/12 01:06:23PM
157 posts

Foil wrapping machine/solution for bars


Posted in: Opinion

I really wish there were some middle ground to foiling machines. We don't do bars but we do 2 to 3k small solids per month and they really get annoying and sore to wrap month after month. The solutions however are big, noisy, and expensive. I'd love a simple lever device--semi automatic something or other.Part timers are great, but more bodies around aren't always what you want. Even though they may look like a flat cost on paper, they have sme other ancillary costs which creep into your budget.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
04/18/12 01:35:40PM
157 posts

Popsicle molds? Stainless?


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

We use coldmolds to make fudge pops and they rock. We tried metal molds and found their ability to release sub-par and the stick locations sometimes 'bled'. The silicon work real well and you can fit quite a few on a sheet pan and just do a rotating production schedule and you're g2g. Do what we did, ordered a few to make sure we liked the idea--not very cost prohibitive to try and if you like it scale up.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/28/12 06:49:33PM
157 posts

small chocolate climate control display for Fair events?


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

If you bang your head on any market issues let me know, glad to either row with you or maybe explain some ideas around them. 4 years taught us more than I'd ever like to know. ;)

If there is a will there's a way; you have a great product and personality so I expect you'll find a warm reception.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/26/12 09:30:59PM
157 posts

small chocolate climate control display for Fair events?


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Oh yea and my knowledge is for those who do not have permanent vending. We've had to vend at day or partial day mainly outdoor with rarely electric. Change the scope to something more friendly and the solutions change.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/26/12 09:22:31PM
157 posts

small chocolate climate control display for Fair events?


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Casey! Davidson market, sounds like fun. It's always been way too far for us to travel but it's a nice market!Again there is no perfect solution. Everything has tolerance and associated costs.When outdoors you have ambient temps and humidity.Every time you open a holding container, electric or not, you will lose temperature and introduce humidity.Being busy will increase this exchange by a magnitude.No solution will obviate this, and most if not all will only solve the cold rebound. Ie how long it takes to turn to a cold temp.Another axiom you come across is the faster you get the rebound the more water crystals manifest. At least for those of us in humidity belts. You see you trap the humidity then the cold creates a dew point. You can keep your product cold but then keeping it dry becomes your next hurdle. There is always something.So.. What we came up with after taking coolers, freezers, and fridges out--you create a series of containers. No high tech thing needed, no dry ice either--humidity is worse than lack of ultimate chill.Standard freezer packs. Large squares work great. For each cooler pick up 3 or 4.For us in June, 85-95' heat, 70+% humidity we would take 3 to 4 coolers. The lot of product for the day is organized by splitting the contents among the coolers in somewhat even amounts--this can be also axed by items of popularity. Bag your items in their categories, this is assuming your products are already boxed or packaged too. If you are selling individual chocolates, we stopped this but when we did we handeled it similarly. Large tubs replicated. The main goal of bagging is to keep moisture out by giving everything more time. In this model you may breach the container but if you keep additional humidity from other items you can sustain one cooler longer before needing to transfer.Ok so you start the morning in one cooler, that's one cooler that has been breached, only one getting contaminated by air and humidity. The day wears on and you migrate remaining products to next cooler, and onwards as sales or slowing of coolering or increased humidity/liquid becomes a nuisance.Time of year, craziness of weather, all dictate the speed and need to handle things in such an order but you do it a while you find the knack for keeping pristine chocolates and butter ganaches safe all day long.On the flip side my love of winter has grown. In December I need no ice, and can lay all produce out. Makes me so freakin happy. I abhor a July afternoon at a 5'oclock market. Luckily we don't have to do many of those anymore. ;)So! No cords, little clean up, and just freeze your packs again--gtg. I've always wanted something slicker but slicker has a huge cost or a huge weight and both always end up breaking or sucking at some time or another. "Keep it simple stupid" really seems to boomerang me on this one.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/15/12 11:12:25AM
157 posts

small chocolate climate control display for Fair events?


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

It's going to be custom, heavy, and expensive.

We knew a toffee vendor who made his own holding cabinet and would add dry ice to a top compartment and the cool would fall down over his products. I didn't have the carpentry skills to handle a buildout like that or want the weight to transport to and fro. The best we ever came up with was a wine cooler with glass front. Even that though if the heat differential was >30' would struggle keeping up and eventually freeze up. If you find a real solution definitely post it up. At the end of the day all we ever found that worked wonders was keeping the products in a series of coolers (to prevent humidity from eventually contaminating) and to create some fake products, and some sacrificial products for the display tables.

Oh last thought I had one day was watching a fish monger sell at a market and using a sushi case. I don't know what temps they are rated at but might be worth looking into. Low profile and if its made to keep fish cold, I'm sure it can keep chocolate cold. ;)

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/15/12 11:02:55AM
157 posts

Can sugar bloom be reversed?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

From experience it doesn't seem to do anything of the sort. It allows sculptures to look natural again for up to 3 months. For a production issue it's not going to be a way to solve a real problem, however if you've got 1 out of 10 showing something of the sort then it may help let that piece slide while you hunt down your problem. As always the mantra should be 'always be testing.' Conditions will always sway what's going to happen the most I think but testing/trials and lots of documentation help figure that out.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/14/12 01:27:54PM
157 posts

Can sugar bloom be reversed?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

This doesn't always work so results may vary but take a small pen torch / flame and brush it with heat. We have a number of chocolate sculptures we keep out in public and when they get dull I flame them a bit and they come back to life.

A heat gun may also work, just start from a good distance and slowly work your way towards the object. It will not need a lot.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/14/12 01:24:59PM
157 posts

Chocolate pourer


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

We've tried the cheap funnel and there is just not enough back pressure for chocolate. YMMV.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/14/12 01:34:29PM
157 posts

The best way to include coffee into chocolate


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I agree I wouldn't grind it in there, it's going to create a grain you're customers are going to notice. The few thoughts which flit by my mind is to either make it into a simple syrup (make extra strength coffee, boil it down to 1/2 then make a normal simple syrup, and boil away more of the water--this would take some trial and error) for addition or take the simple syrup and boil it down a bit more then let dry, break it back into the sugars and you've got a coffee flavored sugar.

Or you can do like Brad mentioned and do it through the confections. We do an espresso truffle where we've extracted the espresso into the cream before creating the ganache.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/07/12 03:45:59PM
157 posts

leaking caramels


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Our soft caramels are bizarre. If you chill them when they return to room temp they melt. If we do not chill them they hold form. If we chill the they will pop leaks or find a way out even on a thick coat, again unchilled this behavior is very minimized.

Strange right? YMMV but try some different handling.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
03/03/12 03:45:25PM
157 posts

Store Markup on Chocolate Bars


Posted in: Opinion

Agreed, we don't make chocolate we make products from great chocolate and sell american artisanal bars we look for a minimum of 80% markup and often are able to do 100% markup. Because you also have to factor in shipping/freight which drags down revenue.

To those that say you can't sell high end bars I beg to differ, it just takes a conversation. We have bars from 5.50 to 15.00 and I am very often surprised when a high end bar goes after just a discussion about the origin, the creator, the methodology, or maybe just a simple chat on good chocolate. You may not move a lot of them, but I feel it is always good to have a high water line that way when people see the range they gravitate towards the middle and onoccasionwill go for the gold per-say.

Worst case if you don't move the bars, lose a few percent and liquidate them in a fire-sale.

If there is one thing I have learned over the past 4-5 years is never judge a book by its cover and never try and guess consumer mentality on what they are capable of doing. Yes that's a double edged sword too, hehe.

Much luck in your endeavors Dylan, let us know what you're up to.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
02/29/12 08:33:32PM
157 posts

How does one make a living in the chocolate business?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Lol, do some research and you'll find driving is more dangerous. After 5 years I've never broken anything but vertical speed limits. ;) I call it my psychologist visit--keeps me centered and focused. Anyhow, good things. Work hard, play hard.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
02/29/12 04:53:48PM
157 posts

How does one make a living in the chocolate business?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

It seems the real question hasn't been answered, how do you survive and thrive in this business. Of course a business is about making money, but how are you doing it? Marketing, PR, strategic relationships, wash rinse repeat.

Marketing--paid for or your time, traditional to social media-- word of mouth is gold but to expand the circle requires marketing.

PR--are you working with your local magazines editorial cycles and pitching ideas, are you talking to local tv stations about coming to the shop for live feeds or going into the stations to cook on tv? Are you at local festivals on the cooking stage with samples?

Strategic relationships--member of your local chamber? Get biz journals and mine their lists? Corporate orders don't grow on trees.

We're not perfect on all of these points but I work hard to get the word out. Do a little bit, baby steps are still steps. It takes time to get to Brad's exodus from the shop. New businesses have a certain inertia that hold you to the mast but you can break free of it with a plan. Build a plan, work the plan, re-evaluate, adjust, and continue.

Brad, how much of Tim Ferris' skin have you donned? Reading you reminds me of reading him. Totally agree on a lot of points. Come skydive with me on the weekends. ;)

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
02/24/12 03:45:26PM
157 posts



Right now they are offering free shipping til the end of the month, do you get that with your discount or is either/or?


updated by @Andy Ciordia: 11/08/15 07:00:31AM
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
08/22/13 11:52:36AM
157 posts

Problems using Confectionary Guitar


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Any temp. Just get it melted in a microwave and slather it on your base. The goal should be making it very thin. Just enough to add a minuscule amount of stability. So scrape off what isn't needed.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
02/24/12 03:38:53PM
157 posts

How many per day?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

We just finished revamping our COGL spreadsheet and I needed the analytics so I could understand the true costs. On an average day our main chef can dip about 550+ truffles in about 5 hours. This is lower than our old average, we're now using TCHO as our dipping chocolate as well as our main chocolate and it's much thicker which requires more drain/tap time.

Like you mentioned startup, re-temper times, and "SQUIRREL" moments all create delays. Not quite sure how to get things faster at the moment. Looking into enrobing machinery and all that.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
12/28/11 03:29:31PM
157 posts

faux chocolates


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Hah, this brings back memories. First you can grab some small wine fridges online for about $150 and work pretty well as long as the heat differential isn't >50'.

We tried styrofoam, we tried lacquering actual truffles, none of this worked well. What did end up working well is getting clay from an art store and making the same size as our current line, then dipping, decorating, and then spraying some acrylic on that. They last for about 3 months before you need to peel the skin off and remake them. We used these during the summertime farmers markets when we needed to be able to show product w/o compromising the integrity of the coolers.

The only other option we thought of was to make custom wax molds but the cost for such small orders was really out there. You'd get the look and temperature holding 100% but unless you're getting 1000 made it just doesn't make sense.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
11/27/11 08:55:28PM
157 posts

Taza 80%


Posted in: Tasting Notes

All depends on what you want to do and the audience. As a truffle the sugar grit blends but the texture stays a bit staccato like. We use it for an orange rind coating since its bold and balances with citrus. We use their guajillo as a base for our chili infusion and fans like it. It's your taste in the end.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
05/22/12 05:05:36PM
157 posts

Paper for Enrober


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Dredge this thread up for other ideas. Not really wanting to invest in a case but I'm sure shipping from Quebec (Perfect enrober here) won't be the most cost effective orexpedient toStateside.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/31/11 03:18:59PM
157 posts

Nestlé’s new Maison Cailler brand


Posted in: News & New Product Press

So far with our shop we meet 2 types of people. Those who buy chocolate in a grocery store, and those who seek out something better, maybe more personal. However that personal is usual not something that's going back and forth electronically but something where you can talk with another person and have real input or knowledge exchange.

To some slice of demographic that currently likes buying ferrero rocher, or other marketed global products this might speak to them with a sense of faux personalization. Like a Sky mall product.

Usually I don't see many of these people, so I'm not really sure if this will gain traction for those looking for a real product. It might be something you'd get as a present but after a few rounds it would fall into disuse.

They might be a real business with a marketing budget that dwarfs anything I can imagine and a production facility that probably looks like something out of a sci-fi novel. Proofs in the product and all that though.

The nice things about endeavors like these is you can find some gems in the rough and if they pan out for that scale there might be some trickle down thoughts that can be integrated into your own business. Always fun to watch and learn.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/31/11 03:32:24PM
157 posts

Questions for the Retail shop owner


Posted in: Opinion

You should look up your local SBA (Small Business Administration), SCORE (Retired Execs), and possibly SBTDC (Small Biz Technology Dev Center.) All of these resources are free and can help you shape a plan, pro forma, and logic in running a business. They are great to bounce ideas and vet your thoughts. Our local SBA holds monthly classes on financing to marketing, YMMV but well worth looking into.

1. Finances don't lie often, extrapolate your current sales and run numbers that show what would be necessary to be successful in a shop. If you don't feel you can hit those numbers figure out what would be necessary.

2. It took us a year and half to lock down the funding. For our area and department requirements it took us nearly 5 months. We had a slew of stupid people working the permit desk and that caused error, then architectural issues and a few inspector slow downs. Rule of thumb is double your expectations and then add a few more and you might be in the ballpark.

3. No, blew out the budget due to mechanical planners over planning without consent. Builder built to spec. We got lost in the middle. Ride your project like a madperson.

4. NPR, Social Media, Farmers Markets, word of mouth

5. We are a chocolate, confections, cake shop. Having sit down would have made us Health Dept, we fly under the Ag dept. Much easier rule sets. YMMV.

6. Not much yet.

7. More money. You need at least an 8-16month cash flow ability. Our blow out on budget set us down to a 4 month window. That hurt a lot. If your opening date slides past certain seasonal periods you open in a rather large wasteland and year 1 survivability is key.

8. Good products? Never stop marketing.

9. Do your due dilligence, form an advisory group of peers, vet vet vet your plan and don't go down the road until you can really and truly secure it. Doing something on a whim, opening without enough reserves, or a myriad of other errors can cost your your sanity, wallet, or worse. Like any real business endeavor just make sure every i is dotted and t is crossed. Hire lawyers to proof your contracts and have an accountant ground your books. You can never have enough advice, even if you don't want to take it all, if they all say the same thing it might be worth listening to.

We spent 3 years at area farmers markets and now have a shop. It's not easy, it's not always pleasant, and you don't always get to pay yourself, but it is very rewarding.Good luck in your endeavor. :)

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/21/11 10:12:51AM
157 posts

Control your Factory using an Iphone


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Sometimes geeking out is just good for the soul. ;) I remember talking to Cook early on and all their DIY gear they were making. It's one reason I was so endeared to them being a tech-rat myself. While they may not bean-to-bar in one factory, as I understand it they still have control from the start to the finish across a number of locations/regions.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
01/16/12 10:44:26PM
157 posts

Chocolate going down the drain


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Like they've mentioned every county, every state, every department, is different. Count your blessings.

We have an above ground one, probably 36x36x36 or so--I'm not sure we'll have to drain it but for every few years. It does have some rancor associated with it after a day off. Rancid butters and creams I'm sure. Nothing else I know that could create real stink. It's not like we're frying in here.

We use a bio-solution that helps digest fats and keep everything running smoothly. It is recommended for those with drains that are needing to be kept clean.

http://www.newtechbio.com/greasetraptreatmentproductinfo.htm

It makes the place smell rather nice after cleaning but since we didn't have a problem I don't know of its efficiency I'm just taking steps before I might have a problem. The longer I don't have to open the hatch of doom the better. I can only imagine having to clean this unit out and the thought is rather unpleasant.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
07/22/11 04:30:24PM
157 posts

Which Inventory Software & POS System to Use


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

We decided to go the non-traditional route and disliked all registers--too expensive for too little. We went with Vend (http://www.vendhq.com/). All you need is a laptop and you can hook it up to a receipt printer and cash drawer.

You can also look into asimilarsolution ShopKeep.(http://shopkeep.com/)

There are a lot of web oriented solutions coming. They excel in my opinion, I can check in on all things anywhere. A lot nicer than being tied to something archaic and from a decade or more ago--or a PC solution that locks you into some high fees.

Experiment and go with what feels good to you and your business. I spent 3 months evaluating with greatdisappointmentuntil we came to web solutions.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
01/17/14 10:51:49AM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

We do not sell this in a take-home form. I don't think it'd be hard to make a take home form. Making it a pretty take home form would be a challenge and keep the cost down. It would also be a very temporary product since we don't add stabilizers or preservatives to our products.

Like I mentioned it's our truffles just without an enrobing. So you're dealing with a butter/cream ganache. I mix something like 31g of ganache in a demitasse with hot frothed milk to it and stir until you get something like pudding and then add more to dilute--or not depending on the customer.

Now for a hot chocolate (not sipping chocolate) which will take a vast amount more milk I make a cacao based syrup out of a dark and a mild cocoas, a little sugar, vanilla and water. Thicken, reduce, squeeze bottle it, and that just lasts.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
01/14/14 01:54:05PM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

We have a new shop with a cafe element, we've done away with pre-prepped notions. We have blocks of our ganache ready and weighed. We heat them lightly then blend them with frothed milk to a proportion the customer wants. Thick to stand a spoon up, or diluted to a more hot chocolate. It's simple, we always have ganache on hand for enrobing and it's as close to a liquid truffle as you'll get. So one further option if you don't have a cafe is to just pick up a steamer and prep on demand takes <45s per serving and you're always fresh.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/28/11 09:48:08AM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Excellent and thank you. To me clay was thinking of this as a milk/almond/soy holder which would then be combined with your ganache. For the water level, I think your right it'd be hard to clean and wonder if it would be easy to stop it up to not function.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/21/11 10:17:41AM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Solis, if you're able, can you take a shot of the interior of your Zojirushi? I'm trying to understand how the unit heats.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/21/11 10:16:31AM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Interesting thought. I wonder how much like a hot water kettle it is--being that if there is a raw heating element in it the amount of output is sure to scorch at the source, and clean up would be a beast. I need to see if there is anyone selling these local to go look at one.

Your idea is solid though, just keep the liquid at temp and then drop a few pre-weighed ganache bits in and you're good to go.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
01/18/11 02:54:16PM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

We started with 2oz servings in little shot glasses but have worked our way up to 3.25oz servings in little espresso cups. We also offer homemade marshmallows so it gives enough room in a 4oz cup.

Our machine is going to go to what you are looking for, parties, catering, etc. We've been trailing it out at one of our indoor stable farmers markets but the general consensus is that the product is too fine to be just walking around with. Maybe if we made it more swiss-miss like (hah).

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
01/18/11 02:40:25PM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Yes, thanks for the reminder to circle back here.

The dispenser works as advertised and actually warms up to a heat we are looking for from cold-start in 30minutes. You can get your liquid to scalding if you like as well so it's got quite a range on it.

The only caveats we've seen is as liquid heats it creates condensation, condensation collects and then is redeposited into the liquid basin which does not really rejoin your chocolate concoction. Due to thermal dynamics and whatnot the surface will be cooler so a thin layer of chocolate sludge may begin to form--I'm sure this is aided or perhaps even created by the condensation. Again these are picks not show stoppers as we wouldn't serve anything that got that low anyhow.

Our method of creation is not to add pure chocolate, cream, etc, to be combined with the machines aid. We combine in our kitchen/stovetop then refrigerate. We pour the chocolate-carafe-container into the dispensary when we are ready to go. If 30m was too long you could pre-heat your drink and probably reduce this time to minutes.

Cleanup is pretty easy; the entire container breaks down. I wonder how long certain seals will hold up with lots of regular use but so far the way it's built everything secures the next piece of the puzzle. We'll see.

That's my general overview, if you have specific questions I can field I'd be happy to.

Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/29/10 12:16:20PM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

We ordered one today. I'll do a review of it once we receive and put it through it's paces. Thanks for hoisting up the documentation.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/25/10 08:55:35PM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Tom, can you share the spec sheet?I hadn't really given too much thought to the pre-heat idea and it's one worth knowing going into it.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/25/10 02:05:34PM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Thanks Jenny, great to know there's a smaller version at half the price.Kerry1, the little home ones: http://www.amazon.com/Back-Basics-CM300BR-Cocoa-Latte-Hot-Drink/dp/B0002TUVQM/ref=pd_sim_dbs_k_9 they seem to come in a few varieties. Cheap, plastic, paddle.. not much science to it.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
10/23/10 10:30:55AM
157 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

I thought this would be an easier search but I'm hitting a wall. We'd like to start serving some drinking chocolate at area markets and as I search for a machine to keep warm and agitate our heart-stopping concoction all I am seeing is 900$ machines and $50 ones. Is there no middleground? Are the billete high end machines really worth it? How fast do the cheapies break down?

Have you gone through this row and found a path that can be shared? It's getting cold out and we want to warm some patrons souls up.

updated by @Andy Ciordia: 04/10/15 01:48:33AM
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
08/04/10 11:10:56AM
157 posts

Has anyone attempted flavoring their chocolates with beer?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

We've got a brewery who has been itching for us to do something with them but we haven't had the mental bandwidth to really do this. My fear is that a reduction will bring out way too many bitters--learned only from the few beer reduction sauces I've attempted over the years for savory dishes.Again talking without trying, I feel like to attempt this getting some pieces of the raw ingredients used might make for a better flavoring. The type of malt, hops, etc, used in some mild extractions to just pull some hints/essence out of it.Definitely let us know how your trials go.
Andy Ciordia
@Andy Ciordia
07/20/10 03:02:28PM
157 posts

"Trouble in Candyland" - Cocao bean price fixing underway?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Definitely not enough details. Iif you are bulk buying market/basic auction beans vs if you are a specialty shop that has a relationship with a farm--I doubt you'll notice. The big buyers might feel it but it will take some time to come down the pipe to where farms will renegotiate their prices.Plus a hedge fund is just that, a hedge.. they could end up on the losing end and then they push their beans into the market and cause a massive fall in prices.Too early to tell, watch and ponder your sources.
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