Ask the Alchemist #52

I have seen the blendtec twister jar and vitamix making awesome nut butters, grinding coffee etc. Now why wouldn’t you use such a thing for pregrinding the cocoa beans? For example it takes only a couple of seconds to grind coffee. I am very curious and looking forward to your answer.

Hi everyone and welcome to One year of Ask the Alchemist. Please keep those questions coming to question@chocolatealchemy.com.

The basic answer to this is it does not work. In theory it should (since they do nut butters) , but in practice it does not. In both cases I found the nibs would start to liquefy and then simply stick to the container wall, and all grinding would stop. The blades are not suited to keeping the material in play. And in the Vitamix’s case, that amazingly strong motor caused so much friction it literally burned the chocolate.

As for it taking only a couple seconds to grind coffee….well, the same can be said for both blade grinders and burr grinders and neither work for cocoa due to the high cocoa butter content. It sticks to the side of the blade grinder and clogs the burr grinder. So it really does not matter that a given piece of equipment will do coffee well. Cocoa isn’t coffee. As for the nut butters, the crux here is that the fats in nut butters are oils, i.e. liquid at room temperature. As they start to grind, they immediately fall back into the blades and it’s all good. This doesn’t happen with the cocoa since the cocoa butter is solid at first.

I’m keeping this short today as I have a bunch of cocoa to get tasted and up. Look for them tomorrow.

2 Responses to “Ask the Alchemist #52”

  1. Hi, I am using chocolate chips for tempering, since it is kind of thick for coating I wander if I can add cocoa butter to help liquify it?
    Thanks!

  2. Helen,

    http://chocolatealchemy.com/2013/12/12/ask-the-alchemist-58/

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