Cocoa Winnower Efficiency Verification

whole cocoa nibs and separated husk

I am trying to make my cocoa bean winnowing as easy and fast as possible, yet getting yield close to maximum. I mean getting all the nibs and separating all the husk.

For maximum nib yield, the most effective method is gently rolling roasted cacao in between fingers until the shell cracks. Then gently picking off the husks and saving the whole nibs.

While it can give nearly perfect separation, it is not efficient when combined with time and labor cost. Doing a kilo takes considerable time while a ten kilo probably takes forever. The time spent could be used for grinding and molding instead.

It is good if your into a community service. Get several people to do it for a hefty cash.

After many trials and revisions. I came to point where I can winnow while roasting, and it is done few minutes after roast. I achieved a maximum  83% nib yield, roasted bean basis, for largest bean category.

I am quite happy with the ease of operation and percentage yield. However, a certain man who is interested with my contraption said, maybe I could still make it higher.

Me, relying on literature, the average husk of cacao beans is 12%. So I can still extract 5% more nibs in theory. That’s a lot for the pricey cacao.

I asked myself. How can I ascertain I am getting good results?

The answer is the laborious manual method. While my contraption is at work. Randomly selected beans will be done by hand. No specific target quantity. The weight done during the course of machine winnowing should be enough.

I did what I hate. Ten kg roasted nibs was machine winnowed for two hours. I shamefully did 150 grams at the same time.

Machine yield is 80% while the manual yield is 84% . I missed 400g nibs with this first verification test.

whole cocoa nibs and separated husk

The discrepancy might be due to differences in hand cracking motion to that of machine roller. Hand could smartly adjust to every bean while the other cannot.

I should not conclude basing on just one observation. I will continue the verification test and think of possible improvements.


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