It seems to be generally known I don't promote raw chocolate. It's not that I don't approve of it (although I have some issues about it), it more that I just don't really care for it and even more so, just don't 'get it'. Although they are not my words, there is an article that I and many others contributed to that spells out quite accurately what I think about it. The 'Truth' about raw chocolate
Item 2. Conching. Or maybe conching vs refining. I don't actually have any definitive to report here, but circumstance has started me on an experiment. I'm on day five of a test involving using the Melanger as a conch only - no refining. The short story is that I removed the tension nut from the Melanger with the intention of pouring up my finished test chocolate...and promptly forgot it. 12 hours later I discovered it was still running, the temperature had dropped from about 118 (note to those experimenting with raw chocolate - the Santha Melanger can refine at or under 118 F if your recipe has a lower enough viscosity) to about 110 F and stabilized. I pulled a small sample and noted it had not over refined, but had changed in flavor...hrm...sounds a lot like conching. I've continued to pull a sample every 12 hours and will vertically taste them and report back.
Item 3 - roasted beans. I now have an old Royal #5 roaster on site, and all beans will soon be available roasted in 15-25 lb batches. If you have a need now, before I get them officially offered, just drop me a line and I will be happy to accommodate.
Items 4 - experiments. Mostly thinking out load of things to come.
Long vs short roast times. Again, circumstance tossed me an interesting piece of data. When I tested out the large roaster I purchased, I did it without any controls. The result was 20 lbs of beans roasted in about 8 minutes. Later I repeated the roast with control and doubled the roast time. Hands down, in blind tastings of the resulting chocolate, the 8 minute roast was preferred. More fruity, body and a better overall dynamic chocolate. One time fluke? more testing...
More conching after my vertical tasting. Broma cocoa butter production. This is a heated, gravity 'pressing'. People have asked, I don't know, so I'll experiment and report back.
Winnowing - AFTER I have the current design to the shop, I have two other designs I want to play with.
I'm sure there are more, but that's it for now.