I temporarily stopped writing to focus on something. The bean to bar chocolate business, or simply, the tabliya business. Well, I guess, focus is not my game so here I am again writing.
What I did accomplished during the stop? Here are they!
A changed of raw material. I am now getting cacoa from a foundation. I discovered the cocoa I had been using for years were actually rejects. Chinese men are buying reject cacao beans from farms and reselling them in Manila for a large profit.
The new beans have darker complexion, smells like a mixture of wine and vinegar. Others are saying the odor is somewhat foul but I find it awesome. It taste less bitter and much closer to chocolate flavor.
A changed of winnower. Manual winnowing outside the house is unsanitary. I managed building my very own winnower using PVC pipes, 5 gallon bucket, a cone marker and a Shop-Vac. My project is on its third iteration. Planning to attached a cracker to it to make the work faster.
Bean sorting. I never did this before as it was taking a lot of time. However, it is necessary to keep the business going and growing. Separating the beans to small, medium and large and roasting them separately. Of course, there is a fourth category called rejects. It resulted to more even roast and tastier product.
Oven roasting. Pan roasting was a thing of the past and I will never go back to it again. I am just beginning with bean roasting using oven but I already seen a big promise. Even roast with no burns and raws. I am taking slowly and waiting for consumer feedback.
Building a bean cracker. The manual operated corn mill was producing a lot of fine powder that seemed lower the cocoa nib output. I build a roller mill and managed to brought up the yield from the average of 66% to 80 to 87%. Sounds good but it takes a considerable amount of time. Breaking, sifting out unbroken nibs, re-cracking and then winnowing. The actual winnowing usually fast. If I can somehow improved the roller mill, then, the whole winnowing process will be done in a jiffy.
Colloid mill as cocoa grinder. Few modifications allowed me to successfully use the colloid mill to liquefy the nibs. The texture is very acceptable as compared to my previous machine. Acquiring a melangeur will be next step to obtaining a silky smooth finish.
I am now learning to properly temper chocolate. Product appearance is one of the main selling point. It will be very pleasing to the eye when the chocolate surface is shiny without any spec of fat bloom.