The First Batches

I’ve been reading Chocolate Production and Use by L. Russell Cook this week (third edition) a book I’m that I’m grateful to have in my chocolate library now, but one I wish I had known about many years sooner. I believe its out of print now, but you can find used copies on Amazon. It isn’t cheap at a bit over $100, but it is probably the best $100 I’ve spent since I started making chocolate. The sections on Chocolate Manufacture and Chocolate Manufacturing Controls alone were worth the purchase price in my case. Ive already put together a list of changes that I’m going to make and/or experiments I’m going to run for my own process.

Aside from that, we’ve been busy this week getting the shop cleaned up and ready for our inspections. We also built some prototype constant temperature boxes that were going to use for pre-heating all of our molds to 80F before use, another for holding tempered chocolate at 89-90F, and things of that sort. The same controller works great on our chest freezer that is in the process of being converted into a cooling tunnel, and we’ll be adding a couple of more for bean storage and final product storage.

We also received our first 1.5L Premier Wonder earlier this week the first batch has already been in for 24 hours. So far, so good we really like what we're seeing. We put in a small 800g batch, and within 12 hours it was down to about 20 microns. It runs quite smoothly, is quieter than our Spectra 11, and seems to run a little bit cooler. Based on what I see so far, I could easily run considerably larger batches Ill probably go up to 1.5 kg as my next stop, then see how much higher it can comfortably go. The day after I bought this one on Amazon, I got an email from Chocolate Alchemy saying that they are now offering the Premier Wonder and at a slightly lower price. As long as this one keeps going the way it seems to be so far, well be buying a few more to expedite test batches to profile new beans.

We made our third batch with some beans that we bought from Pantek (Brazil Trinitario beans). Our first batch was pretty good REALLY bright and fruity -- lots of grape/red wine notes. We built two more batches each going a little darker on the roast, and each got even better than the first. Really happy with these beans and will be placing an order as soon as we get our permits in place. We’re also just starting to work with a couple of different beans from Nicaragua, but it’s too early to say one way or the other how those are going to be the first one looks encouraging after the second batch, but we’re not quite there yet. The second one looks questionable before we even start lots of purple beans in our cut test. We’re going to roast it up anyway and see what we get, mainly for our own education. We’ll let you know in the next couple of weeks what we learn.

All the best,
David and Leslie