Jamaican Cocoa Beans – Experiments

I have been experimenting with the Jamaican Cocoa beans. I finally got a good shot of the beans that show off that polish of theirs.

And while we are at it, here is 7-8 lbs of the Jamaican 72% chocolate in the Santha (note the hot new color available) before and after the addition of my sugar. I will post a final picture of chocolate after refining and some photos showing how the texture changes hour by hour.

And then finally, just a little experiment to show that you can not just add “a tiny” amount of water to dissolve sugar. I hate to give absolutes, but I think I just might be safe on this one – with a qualifier or two.

You can not add ANY water to chocolate and have it flow and behave like “normal” chocolate.

4 Responses to “Jamaican Cocoa Beans – Experiments”

  1. John;

    I have a question…

    If the beans are carefully peeled and there is no husk, why couldn’t a person forego the Champion Juicer completely and put the nibs in the Santha? If it will grind the sugar and subsequent chocolate down over a period of time, should it not do the same as the Melangeur you’ve linked to on your site? Have you tried it? If it works, it will sure save a whole heck of a lot of mess!!

  2. Brad,

    In theory, yes, if you hand peeled the cocoa beans, and pampered the Santha a little bit, you should be able to go directly from nib to liqueur.

    But – isn’t there always a but – I am not sure really why you would want to do that. Personally, I can’t imagine hand peeling pounds of cocoa – my fingers would be raw. Aside from that, there are a few things to consider. I know you are just getting into this, but presently I can set up my Champion, process 5 lbs of nibs, not have a drop of chocolate anywhere, and be cleaned up within an hour. The first couple times are the worst, but it gets better – much better.

    Also, I recall from some of my metal smithing days a lesson about using the right tool for the right job. You don’t skip the rough finishing just to get to the final finishing faster because the final finishing just ends up taking way longer and is harder on the tool. Same thing here. If you do as you propose, you are going to work the Santha harder and probably add many hours to your refining time, and maybe even stress the motor – I don’t know for sure. I have even taken to pre-grinding my sugar because it radically cuts my refining time – 1 hour dry refining the sugar in my last batch took off 5 hours in the refining time. That is significant.

    Finally, just because the Santha looks like a Melangeur, does not mean it is one. Those are proportionally much stronger machines running with two motors – one for the bottom plate, one for the rollers. The Santha just has one.

    So, yes, you could do as you suggested, but I think in the long run, since you already have the equipment, you would cause yourself more work and stress on the equipment. BTW, if you do try it, I would recommend melting cocoa butter you are going to add, and start that in a pre-warmed drum, heat your nibs to around 120 F, maybe pre-grind in a blender, and add them slowly. I tried nibs once “cold” and the santha locked up bexause the cocoa butter in them was too cold.

    Good luck and let me know what you try and how it works.

  3. John – how’re you making out with the santha folks in terms of a factory modified grinder?

  4. Hi Brad,

    I sell raw organic cacao nibs on my xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    Alchemist John here – EXCUSE ME!

    Steve, why would you think it was acceptable to advertise your cocoa beans on MY site? This is MY business and I would expect comments left would help my business, not compete with it.

    I have deleted your contact information, just so we are clear on this.

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