Monday May 23, 2005

I wanted to let you know that we have put a new ordering system in place. It is not quite a full "cart" system yet, but it is hopefully much smoother and easier.

I really appreciate all of you sticking with me through the previous, rather cumbersome e-mail ordering process. This is a variant of that. You type all your information into a web page with product drop downs. I will then email you back with the order total (payment request where applicable), or quote total.

If/when you try it out, let me know if something doesn't work quite right.

Alchemist John

P.S. I did a bit of house keeping this weekend. In particular, the Subscription link to the right is new, the Refining & Conching area is updated with the new Santha Grinder information, and the "Our Philosophy" section is all tidied up with current information.

P.P.S I have been in contact the Santha and may well be offering them in the near future. Maybe even one with electronic timer controls.

P.P.P.S Would anyone be interested in a 3-5 oz "Chocolate Alchemy" logo bar mold, or am I the only one that would find that neat?

That's all, I promise.

11:59 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (3)

Posted Comments for this update:

[Wed 11:33] SharonL email ~ site
I would definitely be interested in the logo bar mold. Let me know if you get it.

Has anyone compared results between the Sharp and Santha grinders yet?

[Thu 15:33] Alchemist John ~ site
I will be talking more about this later, but Sharp is sending me a test model for me to evaluate, modify and hopefully use as a prototype if it works out. I will keep you informed of my tests.
[Wed 15:08] Macon email ~
I have two questions. Which cocoa beans are best for eating raw? I Heard a nutritionist on Coast to Coast AM radio talking about the benifits of eating raw cocoa beans + honey and I want to give it a try. Also...where would I buy them?

Friday May 20, 2005

The new crop of Carenero Superior is due in about a week from now. The nibbing sample had all the wonderful depth of flavor that last years had, but it is not quite as ugly. Oh yeah, for those of you not accustomed to Carenero, it is a Trinatario cocoa bean, with a goodly amount of Criollo in its background - it is also not a pretty bean. Sizes vary, shapes vary, colors vary - but all that variation brings an amazing depth and complexity to the chocolate. Liquor, leather, oak and hints of higher notes like apple and pear. I really love this bean.

As soon as it is in, I will get the Reviews and Prices updated. Likewise, my plan is to roast up a large batch and put the Santha Wet Grinder through it's paces and see what she can do. From reports (and a lot of you seem to be jumping on this), I can tell you a little more. The Santha does have a cooling fan, and it will probably just take opening the case up more for better air circulation. If you are VERY patient, it will grind nibs into liqueur (although, by this method, your winnowing has to be VERY good, or you will have husk in your chocolate). There is a Sharp wet grinder that also works, and apparently that is where my link to Santha redirects you too now.

And a finally bit of news. We are just about to implement a simple "cart" for ordering. Not full blown yet, but MUCH easier than the email system I have in place right now. When that happens, I will be adding a few new items. Individual molds, fresh vanilla beans, and even the Champion Juicer (in silver or black, opinions?). I am looking into being able to offer the Santha was well.

06:48 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (0)

Wednesday May 4, 2005

The Santha Wet Grinder can officially and successfully refine chocolate at home. My latest batch of chocolate was two pounds of milk chocolate.

8 oz Ghana Forastero liqueur (18.8%)
8 oz cocoa butter (24.4%)
8 oz non-fat dry milk powder (18.8%)
16 oz sugar (37.6%)
2 g lecithin (0.2 %)
1/2 vanilla pod (soon to be available)

After refining for 9 hours, at 1 hour increments, there was no noticeable grit left from the sugar. During that time, some conching occurred to - there was a marked increase in viscosity (which is what is supposed to happen) and some of the sharper flavors at the beginning have mostly disappeared. Conching has to occur to some degree as there is tremendous shear where the 120 rpm granite rollers rotate against the lower spinning granite slab.

More later - time for a major revision to parts of the site since we now have the capability to go from cocoa beans to chocolate!

06:51 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (0)

Cocoa Beans
Cracking & Winnowing
Conching & Refining
Tempering & Molding

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