By way of a customer's comment (thank you John H.) I tried cracking some cocoa beans with my Champion Juicer. I had thought of this some time ago, but never pursued it because the Crankandstein Cocoa mill works so well. I just ran the whole cocoa beans through the juicer without the lower plate on. It cracks them with a single pass and shoots them out the bottom. It works with both raw and roasted beans. When I first tried this, I was a little worried about how well it works and whether I had just made the Crankandstein obsolete. Well, after a number of pounds of beans, both raw and roasted, I have the following observations:

  • The Champion cracks the beans into smaller pieces than the Cocoa Mill
  • There is more dust, and thus more waste with the Champion
  • The Champion makes a larger mess while cracking (nibs fly everywhere)
  • It takes longer to crack the beans with the Champion (about 1lb/90 sec vs 4-6lb/min)
  • The Champion does a better job at separating the husk from the nib in raw unroasted cocoa beans.

And likewise, this leads me to a couple of conclusions.

  • The Crankandstein is not obsolete as it is quicker and creates less mess and waste
  • If you are only doing a couple of pounds, the Champion may work fine for you.
  • If you want to make you own raw nibs (for eating or post roasting), the Champion does a great job

Basically, it is up to you and what your needs are. I found the husk pieces were smaller with the Champion and so winnowing was a little easier, but as I said, there was more dust (husk and nib) that needs to be removed (I shook my nibs in a fine mesh colander for this test) so that takes a little more time. Either way, we have a new tool in out Alchemy arsenal, or more like, a new use for an existing tool.

Please try it out and report back. I am especially interested in those of you who have both a Champion and Crankandstein Cocoa mill.