Posted in: Opinion
Well, I finally got the machine today, and I felt like a kid opening a candy store, before I even opened it. The company actually delivered it within a week, but it had to go to another shipping company that ships to Honduras and handles customs. That second step took four weeks.
My initial observations:
The machine does in fact press out cocoa butter.
The cocoa butter is not free of solids as it is brown, although completely liquid. Unless you plan on selling the cocoa butter rather than using it to make chocolate, this should not be an issue.
I am going to enhance the feed hopper by putting small rectangular walls on top of it, perhaps made of wood. Otherwise it's a full time job keeping it fed.
The solid is expressed out the front in hollow tubes that break off due to stress when it reaches 6+ inches. The tubes can easily be crushed into cocoa powder. I am eager to try this but there's a meeting going on in my house that I would disrupt. Reselling the cocoa powder is a crucial factor in reducing my costs. There is a good market for this in Honduras as Hershey's powder is about $11/pound locally and people have few phobias about buying outside of the big name brands.
The machine looks pretty solid. When I turn off the motor, the shaft takes 10-15 seconds to spin down to a stop, which is usually a good sign that you have some solid gears in the box. My 30 year old Hobart meat grinder and KitchenAid mixer do the same. Many of my lesser machines do not. Based on this, I am hoping that it will give me years of service.
I was able to express over a pound of cocoa butter in less than an hour, maybe 30 minutes. I am eager to go weigh the butter versus the solid to see my yield, also crucial to costs.
I need to build some kind of container to catch the cocoa solids, which are bulky because of the hollow, spiral shaped tubes that are produced. With this and a feed hopper enhancement, this machine could batch 5-10 pounds of cocoa nibs, hands free. It would probably handle about that much per hour.
Initial impression is that if you are looking for an economical machine to press out cocoa butter, this $200 machine is hard to beat. It's definitely less of a commitment than the $26K Cacao Cucina butter press.
Will update later on the yield etc.