In no small part to Chocolate Alchemy, Santha is now calling their motor ventilated wet grinders Chocolate Stone Melangers. So, I will probably start referring to them that way. So if you see mention to the Santha Melanger, or Stone Melanger, it is the Santha Wet Grinder made and adjusted for us chocolate makers. To distinguish it solidly from their other line, they will only be coming in maroon but there is now the choice of a 99 hour electric timer. The regular Melangers will still be $265 (including shipping in the 48 upper US states), but the timers will increase the price to $295. And since I have not spoken about them in a while, the non-timer units are also available in 220 v and we can handle out of country shipping. Shipping varies pretty wildly out of the country, so please write and ask if you want to know the prices. In general non-US units are about $50-100 more due to shipping. In response to a couple of customers innovation (thank you Alan and Brad), I experimented with my Melanger this weekend, testing out how well it handles taking grinding nibs. Both Alan and Brad have modified their Santhas to a larger motor and reported being able to bypass the Champion and liquefy the nibs directly in the Santha. Well, I am pleased to report that the stock Melanger can also do the job. I have not pushed it to a high capacity yet, but check out the photos below of 2 lbs of roasted Cuyagua. The main "trick" is that you run the unit with no spring, or no nut at all. The weight of the rollers does it all and it does not bind up.

At the beginning, the nibs running freely.And if you have not seen it before, that is the hot new maroon color all Melangers are now coming in.
15 minutes in and it is just starting to get pasty and sticky
At 30 minutes, the mass suddenly started to "flow". Still course, but flowing.
45 minutes and it is quite fluid and getting smoother almost as you watch.
One hour and we are where we would be with the Champion (except the few nibs that need to be scraped down).

All I did was put the rollers in, without even the top nut. I started the Melanger and poured in my WELL CLEANED (more on this later) nibs. After 15 minutes, I could tell something was happening. Thirty minutes in it started flowing and after an hour, everything was nice and smooth. I added the cap around 15 minutes, but I don't think it matters. I did not add any external heat at all - just the weight of the rollers and friction took care of it.

OK, Great you say - I don't need to buy a Champion Juicer. Well, frankly that depends on you. By using the Melanger only, you need to make sure your nibs are VERY clean of husk because you have nothing filtering it out. In the Champion, the liqueur comes out the bottom, and any husk you have left in, comes out the front. By eliminating the filtering step, the onus is completely on you (if you get nibs from me, they WILL have some husk left) to make sure it is all gone or at a level you can accept. The up side is you don't loose anything to the void in the Champion. If you put in 1 lb 6 oz of nibs, you have 1 lb 6 oz of nibs, not somewhere around a 1 lb like in the Champion. So, until I do more testing, and tasting, I will reserve judgment which method I like best, but regardless, there you go - another option in your Alchemical bag of chocolate making tips and tricks.

And something to look for in the next few days. I have mentioned you can either use the Crankandstein cocoa mill or the Champion juicer (another use for the Champion you may or may not want) to crack nibs. I have done a efficiency test, evaluating dust, husk and nib recovery using the two machines. I will get those numbers and pictures up soon....back to the lab...