After all the hard work, here comes the second iteration of my very own made cocoa bean winnower. It was a result of research and actual testing. Currently, I am 75% satisfied with its performance. Few more tweaks and the final version will sure come.
Hopper. It is for feeding in the cracked cacao. The cheapest and quickest thing I found was a six liter mineral water bottle. The cracking mechanism should be part of… and on top of this hopper. I am experimenting with different cracking methods to get the maximum possible nib yield. I will install it on top of this hopper if possible.
PVC pipe connections. Passage for cocoa nibs, hulls and air. The big question is “is it food safe?”. Nibs, hulls, dry air and no extreme condition of any kind. I am 99.99% sure it is food safe for this specific application. These are Neltex brand orange pipes. You have the option to use blue or even the white pipes. Never know where to get the white type here though. Stainless steel pipe is the best choice for a professional looking setup and avoid flagging of food safety inspectors.
Cyclone dust separator. It is a recycled Nestle Tea bottle. I was tired of cleaning the vacuum cleaner off cocoa dust every after winnowing session. It is actually taking more time than winnowing. Plus, it clogs the filter lowering the suction power. The separator really doing a good job of preventing the dust from getting in to vacuum reservoir. Two trials proved its effectiveness. I am expecting less cleaning work in the future engagements. There are lots of resources explaining how cyclone separator works so I will never explain it.
Dust and hull bin. No words for this!
Nib collection bin. Any container that suits.
Vacuum cleaner. A Shop-Vac brand vacuum cleaner. Responsible for sucking away unnecessary cacao bean hulls. I am only using it for winnowing and not for any other purposes.
Adjustment valves. Shop-Vac suction strength is fixed. A diy mechanism is needed to adjust which I am still working on. The basic idea is to create an adjustable hole before the vacuum hose reaches the cyclone separator. It divides the suction power to two channels.
How it work?
Nibs, hulls and dust when dropped in hopper will go directly to nib collection bin. The vacuum suction prowess comes to intervene pulling the lighter husk and dusk upward and downward to dust container. Too much suction will pull most of the nibs while too low will allow dropping of too many hulls. Move those adjustment valves to get the optimized setting.
One more thing. There should be a way to reduce the falling beans momentum. A small blockage at intersection of wye pipe usually suffice.