Remember That New Melangeur?

Remember way back when – last March it was – when we mentioned getting our new melangeur up and going? It's a long story, but version 3.0 is going to ship this coming week and should arrive just in time for the holidays (we hope). Version 1.0 received an upgraded bowl and wheel assembly a few months back, but between the time we got those parts and when we were going to fire it up, the manufacturer asked us to hold tight – they found some other shortcomings with version 1.0 and wanted to replace it with a new machine that addressed those issues. Enter version 2.0. We were originally expecting version 2.0 to arrive in early November, but that soon turned into later November which then became early December which...turned into version 3.0 shipping next week. In a former life I used to sell equipment in the electronics industry, so I know how these things go, especially when the serial number of the piece of equipment in question is in the low single digits. It's one of the hazards of being an early adopter. At any rate, we're thrilled to finally be taking delivery of a machine that will help us in a big way with our capacity.

 On a separate, but related note, we just received an automatic press (still in it's un-opened shipping crate) that will let us make our own cocoa butter in house. We've been making our own cocoa butter all along for some of our bars, but it's been a 100% manual effort (big emphasis on both manual and effort here) and capacity has been dismally small. If the new machine comes even close to delivering on its promise there will be two very, very happy oompa loompas in the back of the shop. Stay tuned, we'll keep you updated on our progress... 

Next up on the equipment wish list is a shiny, sparkly, new impact bean cracker. It's just a twinkle in our eyes right now, but there's a rumor going around that someone we know is going to help us find one. 
; ) 
One of our most labor intensive and slowest steps is nib sorting after winnowing to remove husk – mainly husk that the winnower can't separate because there is still some nib stuck to it (which makes it too heavy to go up with the clean husk). We're hoping that the impact cracker will do a better job of separating the husk from the nib than our current grain-mill type bean cracker and will also produce fewer fines and small nib pieces. We've got some really solid data on how our current system performs, and we'll be comparing that to how the impact cracker performs before getting too far down that road. At this point we are 'hopeful'.