Chocolate is one of life’s affordable luxuries, and many chocolate-based businesses have seen sales soar during lockdown.
However, the practicalities of being able to meet this rising demand can be a major cause of stress for small artisan operations. Whilst you are keen to grow your business, moving up to the next level invariably requires investment in equipment – and buying your first chocolate tempering machine or moving to the next size up can be a daunting decision.
Here, Vantage House, Henley Bridge’s recommended supplier of chocolate machines and equipment, outline the key features to bear in mind when considering this all-important purchase.
There are so many features and options to be aware of when you decide to invest in chocolate machines, not to mention the costs.
Our most popular entry level automatic chocolate tempering machines are units from ChocoVision, which offer batch sizes from 650g to 7kg. These are great for use at home or for small businesses where the work area is at a premium as they are space-saving and easy-to-use. All the ChocoVision machines come pre-programmed to produce perfectly tempered plain, milk and white chocolate every time. The two larger ChocoVision Machines feature extended chocolate tempering which automatically maintains the fluidity of the tempered chocolate for up to 12 hours which is invaluable when you’re having to multi-task, serving customers and answering the phone etc.
All but the smallest chocolate tempering machines also feature the ability to add up to 26 of your own programs for any chocolate requiring an exceptional tempering cycle.
A happy medium
When sales start to outstrip production, careful choices need to be made. In short the modern way is to move on to a continuous temperer where perfectly tempered chocolate is delivered in a continuous stream.
Medium sized chocolate tempering machines deliver continuously tempered chocolate from 10kg per hour upward. All models feature calibrated dosing for moulds and all but the smallest model offer optional fully featured enrobing as a removable add-on (which can be retrofitted later).
For operators needing to work with inclusions in the chocolate then a traditional ‘wheel machine’ is ideal.
Semi-automatic tempering with capacities ranging from 15 to 80kg have the ability to work with all types of inclusions and are easy to completely clean out ready for the next batch, which is particularly relevant when the same machine has to be used for both white and dark chocolate.
Continuous tempering machines and enrobers offer largescale solutions for bakers and wholesale producers.
This is the area where robust reliable equipment is paramount. It is also the area where specialist applications are integrated with the tempering unit itself.
The FBM range of continuous tempering units supply up to 400kg per hour. They include:
- large-scale enrobing up to 600mm wide with decorating units and cooling tunnel applications
- high speed dosing and mould transports with integrated cooling, automatic tray bake and baking tray coating etc.
Buy or rent?
Prices start at £495 plus VAT for small chocolate tempering machines. However, Vantage House also offer a variety of rental options on the ChocoVision range so that you can ‘try before you buy’ to make sure your chosen machine is the right one for your business with a discount purchase option if you can’t bear to give it back.
All the ChocoVision machines can be viewed and demonstrated at Vantage House’s development kitchen in West Sussex.
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