… and it was an interesting educational experience. Some how I came across this site. As is pretty typical of how I operate… I got super excited and decided that Gabe and I had to meet this guy. So a couple weeks later we hopped in the car drove 7 hours to Yoncalla, OR to meet the Chocolate Alchemist himself.
We drove up a windy gravel road spotted with a few random goats, and arrived at the chocolate making location. The entire operation was far from being high-tech. We roasted the beans (from Madagascar) on a bar-b-que with a rotisserie he made himself. John determined the proper roast by simply smelling the beans. Then we took the roasted beans and put them through the Crankandstein. This is an invention of his own used to crush the beans. From there we used a hair dryer to blow the outer papery layer away. This processes is called Winnowing and simply removes the husks so they may not interfere with the next step.
Grinding. According the Alchemist John, the Champion Juicer is the only machine strong enough to handle the task of taking the roasted and winnowed beans and grinding them to a liquid chocolaty mass. To get the point of having liquid unsweetened chocolate, it takes a few passes through the juicer. (Of course we ran right home and bought the Champion Juicer).
Once the grinding is done we’re left with a gritty mess of unsweetened chocolate. At the time we went to visit Chocolate Alchemy the next step of Conching and Refining was very rough and involved and ice cream machine and even then the results were still a bit gritty and harsh. But as I look at his site it appears as if he has made a few more discoveries.
It was such a fun and educational trip. Since then Gabe and I have visited numerous “high-tech” chocolate production facilities but I have to say making our own chocolate in some strangers dirty garage was so much more fun.
The barrel that housed the beans for roasting. It was set up like a rotisserie so it rotated allowing the beans to evenly roast.
The bar-b-que used for roasting
Winnowing the crushed beans using a hair dryer.
From crushed, roasted beans to liquid unsweetened chocolate thanks to the Champion Juicer.