Prototype CrankandStein Cocoa Mill
Mill Cracked Ocumare
Ok, not quite, but very very soon and hopefully I got your attention. A number of you have asked why I don't sell cocoa nibs. Well, frankly, they are a lot of work, and I don't see the point in that they are only an intermediate step in chocolate alchemy. And I want you to be able to make your own from any cocoa bean you find. So instead of roasting and peeling pound after pound of nibs for sale, I have been pursuing a cocoa mill that will crack the beans efficiently and then let you blow the husk away effortlessly. To that end, I roasted up a few pound of beans and sent them off to a couple of mill designers and builders. So far the best results have come back from CrankandStein (I really love that name!). They have modified their standard grain mill. The gap is now larger to accommodate cocoa beans instead of grain and is a dual drive, three roller design that cracks the husk very nicely I am told. They said it best:
"I got the mill to feed like mad by gearing the rollers together. There will be some differential in the roller speeds due to some design requirements on the gaps between rollers and clearances for the gears, but the fines are being kept to a minimum using a light knurl on the surface. The best setup produced almost no nib flour and husk removal was nearly complete, which I assume is the goal. The chunks of nib haven't been too large, but the winnowing doesn't require screening since almost all of what you would get coming through the screen is husk flour and that blows off easily. The overall crush is showing big improvements with each design change. "
Once again, stay tuned. You will be able to make your own nibs in the near future. The estimated price of the mills will be around $130.00.