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 "winnowing happens". Nibs come out.
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.