From Manual Grinder to Colloid Mill

There are two factors that stopping me from boosting and improving cocoa processing. The first is the lack of budget and the second is the unavailability of cocoa processing equipment. They are available globally but not locally. Getting them outside of the country means passing thru needle hole set by Customs. Pardon me please!

The very first grinder we could afford was the Baesa hand operated corn mill which was modified to run on 0.5HP motor. I was a great relief at first. We don’t have to burden anymore the very difficult mill manual operation. Imagine grinding a kilogram would take about an hour with a very rough output.

Production have increased and we managed serving more customers. However, feedback also came in. They wanted a finer cocoa liquor texture. Our mill was motorized anyway so we did our best to pass the liquor thru grinder several times. We were doing around 2 to 4 passes depending on my mood. Often 2 because I was always out of my mind busy doing other things. Four passes was resulting to a fine liquor texture but not fine enough to suit more than 50% of critique.

After several years, the Baesa motorized mill broke. We didn’t have a back-up plan we bought a replacement grinder with very little planning. Correction, that was an impromptu buy. We bought a cheap stone type grinder for soya. Stone burrs are good in the sense that they never build heat fast. I thought I could pass the nibs and then the liquor several times. The two HP grinder could barely handle the load. The placement of nibs on hopper should be continual, about a tablespoon each time at interval of 5 to 10 seconds. Second pass was okay but the third and fourth were not. The gap between burrs should be adjusted closer to each time to get a finer texture. However, the cocoa liquid was serving as sticky glue binding the two stone together. The last thing I never like with stone grinders, they were damn hard to clean. I am hiding it from food safety inspectors and other critics to avoid flagging.

We got the colloid mill. It’s specification sheet never lied. It can really do a very fine grinding with just one loading. The result is very very far from motorized Baesa corn mill and cheapo soya grinder. It has still some drawbacks like fast heat build-up and high electricity consumption. I did some simple tricks to drive away too much heat and still testing some to control it completely.


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