The second stage of my home chocolate production is winnowing the roasted beans. Winnowing involves the removal of the shell and can be carried out before or after roasting and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Since the shell is very difficult to remove before roasting and would require some form of pre-treatment, I decided to roast my beans first. The major disadvantages of winnowing post-roasting is that some of the cocoa butter is lost in the shell and more energy is required to roast the beans. However, I have plans for my shells so there is no loss of product!
I simply cracked the beans and separated the shells using my hands. This can be quite tedious and time consuming, but it was fine for a small batch of 1kg. I did, however, suffer a minor injury of a sharp piece of shell underneath my thumbnail!
Another method involves cracking the beans and shells together and using a fan or hairdryer to blow the lightweight broken shells away from the broken nibs. I decided not to do this because I wanted to save all of the shells.