Winnower prototype finished and working


So, how many of you have been hoping for an announcement like this?  I know I certainly have been.  It's all 2x4's, plywood, plexiglass and dryer duct, but it works, and is letting me play around with subtle variations to optimize it.  The plexiglass is a must for seeing what is going on - plus it's just plain cool.  Here's a number of photos that really don't tell you a whole lot.  I am keeping a few details under wraps until I decide the direction I am going to take this.  Be it general plans, paid plans, custom built winnowers or some combination of the above. So, the cracked beans go in  entrance.jpg     "winnowing happens".  Nibs come out.  nib-exit-2.jpg like this nib-exit.jpg

Husk gets captured   husktrap.jpg This is the husk from 40 lbs of test nibs.  I am particularly happy with this husk trap system.  Worked exactly as i wanted.  No husk into the blower wheel at all.  A touch of dust dust.jpg but again, that is all the dust associated with 40 lbs of nibs. What is left is husk husk.jpg and nibs nib.jpg.  In a nice close up, you can see virtually no husk in the nibs. nib-closeup.jpg

I am getting anywhere from 72 - 80 % recovery, depending on the bean variety.  That translates to nearly perfect winnowing at about 1 lb/min.  And there appears to be no nibs at all making it into the husk trap.  Currently I am hand feeding the nibs, but I will be adding a Crankandstein to the top and hooking it to a variable speed dril.

What's next?  Refine the design.  Make it in metal.  Probably offer up prototypes for sale to beta testers.  Drop me a line if you are interested.  I don't have an ETA for that.  A few months at least.  In the short term I am going to hammer out the details of a Winnowing Service for Wholesale orders.  Under 5 lbs retail will still be free, but over that I will charge a nominal fee to produce the nibs (which I don't even do right now).

On a slightly different, but related note, the Tanzanian cocoa  is in.  And in some tests yesterday I found out the raw nibs do not crack and winnow well.  Something about just a touch higher moisture causing the husks not to crack off well.  I am seeing about 50% waste from winnowing.  With that in mind, I will not be offering this bean as a raw nib.  It roasts up and winnows just fine that way, but not the other way around.

4 Comments