Spectra 11 Melanger


The Spectra 11 is the newest Melanger from Spectra (formerly Santha).


Overall, I like the changes in design.  It makes for a more pleasant chocolate making experience, is neater (as in less messy), addresses some of the previous design…I hesitate to say flaws…so lets say problems.  The biggest two are that the drum drive and connections have been totally redesigned to eliminate a leak problem that has steadily increased over the years.  The other item is actually a feature that the original had, but somehow got lost…the floating lid.  In the first version, many years ago had a lid that sat on the tension knob.  For some reason Santha changed the design, sealed the drum and lid…and made a design flaw where water vapor could not escape and could potentially seize the chocolate as it condensed and dripped back in.

Here’s what the new internals look like.

spectra-11-hardware.JPG  spectra-11-cap.JPG  spectra-11-lifting.JPG  spectra-11-lifting.JPG spectra-11-bowl.JPG

What you have is a whole interlocking system now that rotates on Delrin ‘bearing’/shaft.  The center hardware slips down over the Delrin covered stainless steel shaft.  Because the cap now attached directly to the shaft, and the shaft no longer attached to the bowl, the stress point that was breaking in the Spectra 10 has now been eliminated.  It’s actually much harder to describe how this goes together but the pictures make it obvious.  The Delrin sleeve that attaches to the bowl is glued to the bowl, but being only a support sleeve, and containment system, there is no reason it should start leaking.

It’s pretty minor, but I rather like the new hand grip on the new hardware.  It’s just a breeze to use, and you can keep your hands clean.  Here’s what the actual center hardware and shaft now look like.

spectra-11-hardware-center.JPG  spectra-11-shaft.JPG

I’ve been experimenting about a month with the Spectra 11 at the time of writing this.  It works basically the same from an efficiency standpoint.  I did find that with the new cap/tension system I was actually able to over tighten it.  When starting from warm nibs, the result was that I could stall the Melanger.  At first glance that may seem an issue, but in other light, I like the extra tension and added control.  I also noted that sometimes the Delrin on Delrin squeaked.  Nothing more than that, and no cracks or anything like that.  I loosened the tension a touch and it stopped the squeak.

That’s about it.  I’ve been asked many times so far, and still don’t have an answer as to how compatible or retro-fittable the Spectra 10 will be to the 11.  At first glance, it’s not compatible, but I suspect it’s really only a matter of changing the flywheel and getting the new bowl and hardware.  I will check into that and report back.

28 Responses to “Spectra 11 Melanger”

  1. Thanks for the manu info about how to DIY chocolate block right from the cocoa beans, fantastic!

    Your praise pique my interest about this machine.

    Would be great if there is some rudimentary video showing how it works.

    Regards, Haris

  2. Can this machine be used for nut butters? I live in the US and am having the hardest time finding adequate information on wet grinder/melanger products. Why do you not use the conical stones? Do you know the advantages/disadvantages of conical vs. circular stone shapes?

    Why do you not use the already established Ultra or Premier products?

    Ideally I would like a machine I can use for both nut butters and nibs. Is that a feasible request? Or even in existence?
    I would greatly appreciate any information you can provide.


  3. Yes, any of the melangers can be used for nut butters. I’ve done it many times.

    The units supplied by Ultra/Cocoa town have conical stones, so I do use and offer them. Check the site. Personally, I find no advantage to them, and disadvantage in that they fling material and make more of a mess.

    I have a Premier wet grinder I am testing and like it very much, but they are being VERY hard lined about no warranty at all if used for anything but Indian products, so nut butters and chocolates they say void the warranty.

  4. I recently purchased the spectra 11 and really like the tension knob. I can start at a lighter tension and increase it as the chocolate flow freer. I also have a the ultra grinder and I actually like the conical stones. I have noticed that when I put identical batches in each melanger the ultra actually makes the chocolate smooth quicker and grinds at about 10 degrees warmer. The ultra is very hard to get ingredients into the top as it only has a small area in which to pour ingredients.

  5. Can you comment on the usefulness of the speed control. Is it necessary to pay the extra amount? Or does the basic model suffice?

  6. I personally like the basic model but I have a tendency that favors simplicity. I’ve not found a desire to reduce the speed, but some people like that extra control. I have not tasted two chocolate’s side by side that compares speed control.

  7. how much cacao does this melangeur process approximately?

  8. Approximately 8 lbs. I’ve done a little more, but if it’s a thin recipe it can crawl over the edge and you are decorating with chocolate.

  9. John, any chance on stainless steel center shaft for the 11? I found replacing that on my 10 made the nibs turn to liquor MUCH faster. Ps. You single handedly taught and fostered the American chocolate movement. I don’t think that is said enough. Thank you.

  10. I’m on my second batch with my new Spectra, and I love the thing! Thanks for making it available! Now I’m wondering what else I can do with it. I see nutbutters mentioned, and that’s a start, but I’m thinking about custom spice mixes, flours, flavored sugars, cinnamon powder from stick….

  11. @Randy,

    Glad to hear it is working well. As for those other items, keep in mind that the Melanger started it’s life before evolution split as a Wet Grinder. meaning it’s not a dry grinder and does not work very well with dry mixes like spices.

    That said, I have made:

    Nut butters
    Pear sauce
    Apple sauce

    I’m also considering (read that as trying to find the time) to try emulsifying the initial stage of a brioche dough

    Oh, and one word of caution. For those top three with high oil content, the ban on water and/or water based sweeteners still holds. It tried agave syrup per request once with a nut butter and nearly broke the Melanger because it seized.

  12. John I’m having a tough time adjusting to the 11. I have a 10 and a 11 running side by side. The 10 has a stainless center replacement. The 11 is almost embarrassingly slow. Barely able to turn and even spinning at about half speed as the 10. Is there anything I can do? This is it’s first batch and I dont think it’s defective. I’m using warm nibs straight from the roaster. Advice? Possible modifications I can do? Thanks ~adam

  13. Hi John,
    You mentioned in one of your posts “the ban on water..”. I just want to make sure i understood this correctly. did you mean that the Spectra 11 is not able to grind beans that have been soaked in water?
    We are thinking of buying one to use to grind overnight soaked raw chickpeas (that have been blitzed into smaller size pieces in advance). These beans swell to double their size and weight during the soaking process and obviously hold a lot of water.
    Would that damage the grinder? after all it has started its life as a wet grinder.

  14. In this case, no. The ban is not on water per se, but water with chocolate or cocoa or anything oil based that would seize.

    It will make hummus (chickpeas), dals, mustard, etc which have water, but little oil.

    Make sense?

  15. Hi John,
    I think I have that leak problem you mentioned. A little bit of black stuff at the top of the chocolate on the wall of the bowl?
    Have you had a go of retrofitting the new bowl and flywheel yet?

  16. I’m having trouble with ……….

    Any ideas?

  17. PLEASE people, this is NOT the place to ask for help….at least if you want it answered in a timely fashion. Please e-mail me directly.

  18. How long has someone left the melanger to run? Can it run for 5 days straight, non-stop?

  19. The have continuous motors meaning there is really no time limit. I’ve run one over 4 weeks.

  20. Thanks for your answer John. I have another question as i am currently using this grinder and there is a steady beep coming from the bowl…not the motor area. This beep was not present during the first 8 hours, and its the first time i am using the grinder. Should i be concerned?

  21. G’day everybody,
    i have a question, I just bought a Santa Stylo melanger and
    i’m grinding for the first time. Do you guys leave these machines running continuously, like overnight and unattended? because to grind like 48 hours takes a lot of time to be present…..
    I’d like to hear from you…..
    kind regards, Joost

  22. Spectra split away from Santha 3 years ago. They are still cordial though. I checked in about the Stylo and this was the response.

    I have seen the Stylo and it will overheat for sure, and primarily designed for short runs of 30 minutes.

    I know it stays chocolate, but frankly it is wrong. I keep hearing about them because they keep over heating. They are NOT for chocolate.

  23. Hello John,

    I am looking for a machine or the easiest way to shell the roasted cacao beans to nibs only. Any information will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!

  24. Champion Juicer to crack and Sylph to winnower. I of course carry both.

  25. Hello John, I’m new to this site and I came here by chance looking for a machine to grind almond paste, praline or more properly gianduja. I’m trying to make my own Nutella. What would be your general advices for this matter? I’m interested in buying the Spectra is it is suited for the job. One thing I’m really curious about is the time needed to complete the task, for its full capacity and how many minutes do you recommend to use it without stopping. Thanks a lot for your time.

  26. My experience is in chocolate. That is usually around 24 hours. I recall from a praline test it was less time, but that’s about all I recall. There is no maximum time you can run the units. They are built to run 24/7. They have continuous motors.

  27. Dear John i want to make choclate peanut butter so can i use such grinder I can make in 2 steps namely 1 grind peanuts with cocoa powder and sugar in grinder then for proper and smooth consistency like nuttella grind in such stone grinder

  28. Answered in Ask the Alchemist #176

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