Announcing the Aether Winnower

I would like to officially announce the Aether Winnower.



50 lb capacity cracker.  Dual air flow calibration.  Clear sided husk trap.  Stainless steel, aluminum, PVC construction. 1+lb/min winnowing rate.

And you can see the distribution of husk and nib.  I just can’t ask for better than that.  80.7 % recovery.


I will be contacting those interested in beta units for testing.  More later.  Inquiries welcome.

22 Responses to “Announcing the Aether Winnower”

  1. That was quicker than expected! Nice name, as well as the alchemy icons on the label.

    Roughly, how much should we be expecting to pay for this wonderful piece of equipment?


  2. Great job! I see the ss, aluminum configuration handles 50 lbs compared to 40 lbs advertised for the wooden box model and plans. Any changes from the plans to beware of if I try to replicate the Aether winnower in its latest config. I’d love a beta test, but will be using this in Indonesia, so better that I build my own there. Is 50 lbs a limit for the Champion – are the last nibs through hotter than those at the start?

    Thank you,


  3. @ChocolateFish
    I hesitate to put a price because I know it’s going to be changing as I sub-contract some of the work. But to give people any idea, these first couple are $2500-3000.

    @Peter, I made the hopper larger to get up to 50 lbs. In general, no, there are no changes. Specifically, the pvc valves are gone and replaced by very simple sliders that regulate the air flow, one to the far left where you see that black tube coming up to the surface of the platform, and one on top of the husk chamber (under the bin in the picture).

    And no, the nibs are not hotter at all – cooler if anything, but really unchanged.

  4. Hello,

    I am blown away at your craftsmanship! I am a chocolatier in the process of setting up a chocolate production line for a triple A five diamond resort on St. Lucia. We literally have our own cocoa plantation and I have been doing the whole process from cradle to grave but using a crankandstein and winnowing in 3 lb patches is not cutting it. We are interested in beta testing for you or possibly buying a unit when in production. Our power requirements are 220V 1 ph at 50hz. Does the machine meet those requirements or can it be modified to do so?



  5. Daniel,

    In general, it can work on that power. A champion will work on that and there are vacuums that will meed the hp requirements that are 220 V.

  6. Hi John

    Looks awesome, well done!

    I was just about to try to create something similar, working off your plans for the wooden version, not 100% sure how the smaller sqare box with the clear side fits into the mix or where the exit pipe for the suction is in this picture?

    Also – what attachment are you using on the Champion to crack the beans? Surely not the sharp toothed spindle that ships with it that is used to grind the nibs to a paste?! Would a motorised 3-roller cracker (a bit like the crankandstein but with a motor) achieve the same result, or do you feel the Champion does a better job?


  7. So when do you think a model will be available for beta testing or purchase? Your winnowing machine would be a g-d send!

  8. Rik,
    You do use just the Champion juicer cutter wheel. The ‘trick’ of the situation is that you remove the screens from the bottom. Here’s more of the full scoop:

    As for the clear sided box, it goes inside the larger box – it’s just to hold the husk for easier removal. And the suction tube goes on the door to the larger box. I’ll get more photos up into a dedicated Aeither Winnower page.

  9. Looks awesome!

  10. Hi John,
    could you please post more pictures of your winnower?
    i can work together with an engineer friend of mine to turn it into a 100lb/hour machine but we will need to see the inside of your husk chamber to get an idea.
    I have a winnower from cacao cucina that is not doing very well…i rather use all the parts and turn it into a big Frankenstein “Aether” !

  11. Hey, Alchemist John:
    What are the gap settings for the top 2 rolls as well as between the second and third rolls on the cocoa mill? Since the cocoa beans come in varying sizes within the same batch, would one then have to set the gaps for the smallest bean size? In which case it could be too severe for the larger beans and overcrush them. Additionally, were one to use a 2-roll mill, what gap setting would be ideal for that?

    Also, based on one of your responses above, I am led to believe that the gap settings on the cocoa mill are fixed from the factory and not susceptible to changing. Is this right?


  12. John, count me in for a kit as soon as you have them ready. Great work!

  13. I will be putting together a page dedicated to the winnowers, their progression, etc.

    I have 90% of the numbers back on machining quotes (and the price seems to be dipping under $2K) and I will VERY soon have a price for the Beta units and I will send out that information to those who have showed interest.

  14. Antonio,

    I will have photos up of my CLEAR one within the week. That will show much more. And as for turning it into a 100 lb/hour beast, you don’t need to change much. As a matter of fact, the grinder/feeder is ALL you need to change. I pushed through beans at 2 lbs/min (i.e. 120 lbs/hour) and the separation chamber works just fine.

  15. John,

    Sweet work. I am definitely interested in one of these. Do you have a modified unit that I can just put already cracked beans in and have the husk removed? I have a cracker that can do lots but would like an efficient method for removing the husk?

  16. Hi John
    As you know we are trying to launch a chocolate production lab here on St Lucia at JAde Mountain. You have been very helpful in all of your suggestions. We had built a hand made winnower but this Aether Winnower looks like just the ticket! I would like to put my name on the list to beta this winnower and work with you on feedback as needed.

  17. @allen, I’m both glad to hear this and will be in touch.

  18. Would love to see more photos of your husk trap.

  19. Vincent. honestly there is no much more to it. Husk travels up that vertical tube, turns over and drops into the bin that is shown sitting on top. There is a lid on the husk bin with an entrance hole for the husk, and exits for the air flow, but that’s it. Nothing special. Does that explain it a bit better?

  20. John,

    I love this design and was curious if you began selling it yet? I also had a question regarding the PVC fittings. What types of screws/nuts did you use to fit the PVC together. It looks very clean.


  21. Brandon,

    For initial fit, I use self tapping sheet metal screws, the it gets riveted together.

    And yes, I am selling these. I have one left of the initial Beta run and am taking orders for the first production run.

    Look in the Wholesale store, under Equipment. The Aether is there.

  22. bigk,

    The gap settings are fixed at 1/2″ for the top pair, and 5/16″ for the 2nd set. Basically, those were chosen because it was found that at that top gap nearly all beans would be drawn in. Smaller would go on to the 2nd set and still be crushed. Beans don’t get over crushed if they are large because all the first one does is pre-crack them basically.

    Technically, yes, an adjustable gap would be great – but it increases the price and it’s a fine balance between improvement and cost.

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