Mini Cacao Butter press for Small Scale Single Origin Chocolate & Artisan Cacao Butter production
Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
Powell and Jones
There really isn't a good / cheap option at the scale you want to produce. Making a few hundred grams of CB using one of the chinese made electric electric 'oil' press devices is possible. For a few hundred dollars I suspect they won't last long? There are some Taiwanese built 100T cacao presses out there, I've no personal experience of them, looks like they could work and make several kilos a day, you would need 3phase power and a strong floor they weigh a couple of tons at least.
Scaling up is both difficult and and expensive. You simply wouldn't get the level of production (25#/ day) you want from any home brewed set up built using a cheap automotive bearing press. You need far more force and some means to heat the pressing pot in a controlled way and also some safety screening. I've built a lot of my own bean to bar set up, but personally wouldn't bother to try to build a DIY press using a chinese HF 12 T press etc...sure, OK for pressing the wheel bearings off a rear axle, but simply not up to delivering the force necessary to extract cocoa butter efficiently or safely.
I do admire the home brew crew and in certain parts of the world using a gas blow lamp on the outside of a pot made from an old diesel truck engine cylinder, a metal slug and some old cacao sacking and a hand jack powered automotive press does appear to be a means to produce small quantities of CB of unknown quality? Personally, don't think this would fly with food safety / insurance etc here in the States, certainly wouldn't meet, State or Federal GMP food codes.
You do really need to both preheat the liquor and heat the pressing chamber to ensure efficient extraction - 25% or better.) There's complex machining and or welding involved in making a safe (proofed) pressure pot capable of withstanding the massive force being applied. The cost of the billet material needed would likely suprise you. You need a perforated follower, CB recovery system and a heating system. The food contact surfaces need to be 304 / 316 stainless or better, and the press frame etc needs to be NSF food safe powder coat, not some potentially cadium or lead containing chinese paint or powder coat. Electrical needs to be EL code etc. need a safety screen around the press to protect staff from injury etc,
The Cacao Cucina systems appear built and designed by a company that knows how to design and build this sort of item to comply with the standards and safety norms. They are USA based hence relatively expensive, is there any other viable alternative currently? Also consider the specs.....
The Lab Cocoa press uses a 75T press as the 'engine', that's a heavy duty bit of kit. FYI: Just the cost of a decent quality DAKE brand 75T 'workshop press' is around $9 - 10K. The 5kg scale Cacao Cucina press apparently uses a dual action 200T press, these cost at least $25K. These items also weigh 1500 - 2600# can your floors take the load, do you have the necessary space and electrical?
Even if you manage to build something (cheaper?) according to the Cacao Cucina specs their 200T model can only process a 5kg batch of liquor, assuming a decent yield of CB that's just over a kilo of CB per batch! Are you going to run that device 10-12 times a day to obtain 25# or hire a staff member to do it, while you continue with your 'day job' of making chocolate and running the rest of your business?
Why not do the return on investment calculation? i.e. Is being able to press CB from you own cacao a critical aspect of your business model? If yes, What's the cost of investment needed? Can I obtain a loan to purchase the necessary kit hire the staff to produce at the daily scale needed. What is the ROI / pay back timeframe?
Good Luck! and please be very careful if you go DIY
Thanks Mark, I agree the 200-300 Chinese machines are not going to cut it and the Cacao Cucina press are expensive and overpriced. So I decided to desgin my own and have it made by a local machinist. I am now looking at Multiple designs like Grenada, Mindo and Cacao Cucina and come up with the optimal design.
As a first observation, Grenada is using a 6" OD Cylinder simliar to the Cacao Cucina.
Cacao Cucina is using a 75 Ton press can generate a presure of 5,839 PSI over the 6" diameter circular surface
On the other hand, Grenada is using only a 20 Ton press over the same 6" diameter circular surface which leave them with 1,557 PSI, they can gain more 45% PSI (2,242 PSI) with the same 20 T press if they narrow down the cyclinder diameter by 1" and increase its height enough to keep the volume of liquor the same (for example: Cyclinder with 6" D x 12" Height volume is 5.5 Liter and of 5" x 18" volume is 5.7 Liter).
The bottom line you will able to get a 5,605 PSI if you use a Dake 50 T press (Cost $4,000) and wrap the cylinder with a 110 V heater heating blanket Jacket with thermostat ($125) which close enough to get you where Cacao Cucina is without paying top dollars (at near 1/5 of the price) and this is all with seamless stainless steel tubes, plugs and butter collector pan with sanitary discharge.