So this was it, were finally getting the colloid mill. I had two choices. The JM-60 or the newer model JMS-50. The cocoa sample was ready. The budget was ready. All we need was test the machines and get which perform better.
So we arrived to warehouse and asked for testing of the two above mentioned mills. They entertained us immediately. They showed us the two equipment and let us decide which to test, though we may test them both if we like.
Without much ado, I immediately turned down the JMS-50. It was only about 1/3 the size of JM-60. I thought they were of the same size and the latter has higher power rating. What was advertized on the third party seller site was clearly not accurate. What a disappointment! In addition, the rotor has no spiral attachment to drive viscous solid down. I am sure it was only designed for water and other very flowy material. Viscous type such as peanut, sesame and cocoa should not be passed thru this.
The man in-charge cleaned the machine first before testing. It looked so convenient. He added water to hopper. He powered the machine on and it cleaned itself by driving the water down between rotor and stator then to re-circulating pipes which returns the water back to hopper. He emptied the water by opening the faucet. Added another clean water and repeated the process. He did it several times until the recirculating water is visibly cleaned.
Testing time. While the machine was running, I was slowly pouring down the cocoa nibs. It seemed grinding the nibs fine but there was problem during hopper feeding. Many nibs are flying out of the hopper due to pusher (the spiral structure on top of rotor) high speed rotation. He stopped the machine so I can fill in the hopper without tossing nibs out. Turned it on again, it ran for awhile and it stopped on its own. He disassembled it and we found out, the pusher pressed too many nibs that cause clogged.
Second test. We removed the pusher. However, without it, there was no mechanism to push the nib downward for grinding. Haha! The machine was running continuously but no ground product coming out of the exit.
Third test. He installed back the pusher then I slowly dropped in cocoa nibs while the machine was running. After a while, a nicely ground cacao was oozing out of the exit pipe. Then, the machine overheated and smoke came out of the hopper.
Assumptions. (1) The colloid mill has cooling feature to prevent overheating and burning of food under milling process. There was no water supplied during the testing process. If there was, then this overheating would have not happen. (2)Based from experience alone, cold cocoa nibs are really hard to grind, hot nibs are a lot easier. I you are going to grind it manually, then heating it first is highly recommended. If we heated the nibs first, then clogged would’ve not happen. (3) The hopper should have an inner lid to prevent the flying nibs from getting out.
We decided to buy the mill. Our current stone-mill at home is very very slow and we cannot achieve a grind as fine as this colloid mill even on the third and fourth grind pass. I have high hope for this. Making it work properly mean growth of our business. Based on forum sites, some chocolate makers are using this machine with great success. I am pretty sure we can use it.
We tried grinding hot nibs at home and it is working pretty well. I am now working on fine tuning the adjustment knob and doing some experimentation to efficiently fend off heat build up.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.