Premier Wonder Grinder

The Premier Wonder Grinder was made to be an Indian spice grinder, but the Chocolate Alchemist, among others, recommends it as a small batch melanger. This recommendation was seconded by Greg D’Alesandre at Dandelion Chocolate, who has been an excellent mentor as we work with new recipes, ingredients, and processes.

[Update 12/14/14 – We previously linked to Chocolate Alchemy’s sale of the Premier Wonder Grinder. Unfortunately, John Nanci is no longer selling this unit (though check him out for replacement parts). So, if you’re thinking about buying a Premier Wonder Grinder, please consider clicking this link to Amazon, as Root Chocolate will receive a small percentage of your purchase. Thank you!]

On Friday, we received this beautiful box in the mail and were so excited to start using it!

Premier Wonder Grinder melanger

And Saturday morning, just over 12 hours after we received it in the mail, we tried using this melanger (beyond our trusty but tiny coffee grinder) for the first time. It was a big step, taking our itty bitty batch sizes of 100 grams of cocoa beans to 888 grams, pre-winnowing. (For our winnowing woes, check out this post.)

Our first use was mostly trial and error, with some guidance from the brilliance of the Chocolate Alchemist’s instructions on using a slightly different melanger and some advice from The Chocolate Life. (Have I mentioned how much I appreciate the online chocolate-making community?) Here are a few lessons we learned:

1. We cleaned the Premier Wonder Grinder with vegetable oil, as recommended by the Chocolate Alchemist. It came out of the box pretty dusty and the vegetable oil came out a muddy brown color. We wiped it clean with paper towels, then washed it with hot water and soap. We let it dry overnight to avoid any residue of water. Solid cleaning lesson, learned.

2. We realized the next morning that we had nowhere near enough beans for a typical batch size in this machine! Dandelion Chocolate to the rescue! We bought 2 kilos of Oko Caribe from the Dominican Republic after tasting their bar samples in the store. Yum – I don’t necessarily expect ours to turn out like that, but maybe someday! We roasted 888 grams of beans and they winnowed down to 773 grams. I wouldn’t recommend putting much more into this melanger, at least not when it’s dry.

roasting Oko Caribe beans

3. That leads us to lesson #3. The Premier Wonder Grinder is a wet grinder. That means, it works best when it is full of liquids, not solids or powders. That said, we don’t yet own an infamous Champion Juicer, as recommended by both Chocolate Alchemy and The Chocolate Life. It’s a little outside of our price range at the moment, though it may join our collection of inordinately large kitchen gear soon enough! So, we used our Nutribullet to grind the cocoa nibs to a powder. Then we heated them slightly in the oven. Our oven only goes down to 170, so we set it to 170, then turned it off and let the cocoa nibs sit in the warmth for about 15-20 minutes. The heat lowers the resistance and provides a closer-to-liquid experience for the melanger. We also used a hair dryer, blowing it on high heat into the melanger as we slowly added a spoonful at a time of cocoa powder. We realize that starting with a solid is not recommended in a wet grinder and that it may wear out the stones faster. We’re working with what we have for now, and it seems to be working ok!

Premier Wonder Grinder with cocoa powder transforming to liquor

4. Nice transition. The melanger can’t handle 773 grams of cocoa powder all at once. So, we added it slowly, and only after about an hour of melanging did we add in the sugar. We’re aiming for a 70% chocolate, so that’s 325 grams of sugar, ground up in our coffee grinder in advance.

Grinding sugar

5. Next lesson, the melanger is loud… kind of like a washing machine or a dryer. We have it far in a corner of our kitchen, but our one bedroom apartment isn’t quite big enough to avoid the noise entirely. We decided to consider it white noise and went to sleep with it in the background. It kept working, even through our surprise 6.1 earthquake!

6. Wow, does it work! Just tasting the liquor after about 4 hours in the melanger changed our world! It’s smooth and delicious and amazingly tastes like  the samples we tried at Dandelion earlier that day! Then again, I’m sure we have a lot to learn before we pump out bars like they do.

Premier Wonder Grinder pouring chocolate into double boilerdouble-boiling chocolate

7. It is hard to clean. After leaving it on for 15 hours and 25 minutes, we poured the chocolate into a double boiler, serving as our tempering machine. Another post, another time about our tempering troubles! Now Richard’s trying to get all the chocolate out of the stone wheels and it is not super easy!

And here we are, approximately 18 hours after we started the process… This chocolate is amazingly smooth and delicious. And, this being our biggest batch ever, we ended up with this chocolate war zone!

chocolate war zone

33 thoughts on “Premier Wonder Grinder

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  8. HI! This post has been the best I’ve found in three days of nonstop research into how to make chocolate – so THANK YOU! If I have raw cacao nibs, will those work? I imagine that I would start at step 3 on your advice above?

  9. Hi – so glad this is helping you make chocolate at home! There’s a lot of debate around raw cacao nibs, so I won’t be able to tell you definitively either way. That said, heating them (and the grinder) will help make them into liquid faster, whether or not you fully roast them first. It will also make the grinder’s stone wheels last longer, since they won’t have quite as hard of a substance to crush. I hope you’ll stay in touch!

  10. I agree on the raw cacao nib as well – not enough science. Plus I’m all for making the equipment last longer. I Will definitely stay in touch – I’m interested in learning from your experiences and sharing mine!

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  18. Great site! I enjoy it.. I also spend a lot of time making chocolate from the Bean.
    I just had 1 question. When you say you had 773grams of cacao nibs and you added 325grams of sugar.. wouldn’t that make the chocolate more like 55 percent?
    wouldn’t you use 30 percent of 773grams… And that would be 231grams of sugar to make it 70 percent chocolate?
    Or am i wrong..

  19. Hi Jason, glad you’re enjoying the blog! The percentage comes from the total amount of chocolate, so it we want a final quantity of 1000 grams of chocolate and we want a 70% bar, then there should be 700 g of cacao nibs and 300 g of sugar. My recommendation for an easy calculation of how much sugar to add: decide what you want your total quantity to be and decide what percentage you’d like, and then it’s easiest to calculate the added sugar. Things get even more complicated when you start adding cocoa butter or other ingredients! Hope that helps!

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  22. Great to see your post. I wanted to let you know that I am the chocolate maker that actually sells these great little machines. (I began selling them after the Chocolate Alchemist had a conflict of interest and asked me to take over.) You can buy these machines on my website at

    As far as ease of cleaning, I would recommend taking out the stones for cleaning. I roll mine on clean parchment paper before using a scraper to scrape them down. I then empty the contents of the bowl (if you won’t be tempering right away, you can line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pour the molten chocolate on that). Once the bowl is poured out, I use a flexible food scraper (I like to call them child cheaters, because they clean the bowl so well) and get the rest of the molten chocolate out with that.

    Welcome to the world of chocolate making! It’s a sweet place.
    — Erin, Founder, indi chocolate

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  25. As a science teacher planning a chemistry-of-chocolate-making with my students, this has been incredibly helpful! Just took the Premier chocolate grinder out of the packaging, pretty basic instructions in the manual and nothing about ratios, so I appreciate the tip. I notice you didn’t add any cacao butter….I know a purist would say it contaminates the single origin, but have you experimented with a touch at first to lead to more liquid outcomes?

    • Hi Angela, thank you for your question. The Premier Wonder Grinder is a rice grinder and the Chocolate Refiner (if you get it on my site rather than our Amazon site we save the Amazon fees, is that the Chocolate Refiner has upgrades specifically for chocolate making. We looked at ware rates of components, replacement part orders, etc. and did a lot of research to make the machine more robust for chocolate making. Since rice grinders one run for a few hours a week and Chocolate Refiners are for much longer run times, it’s important to have the upgraded components. Also, the Chocolate Refiner is made in the USA. I’ve been getting more and more questions about this very topic so we added this to help address the problems. Let me know how else I can help. — Erin

  26. Heya! I just bought the Premier Wonder Wet Grinder, and I want to know one thing, did you really keep it going overnight? Doesnt the motor heat up?
    Is it okay to use Premier Wonder Wet Grinder continuosly for 12hours?
    Please do help urgently.
    Kind regards,
    Shravan Dandage.

    • Shravan,
      I also recently bought the Premier Wonder Wet Grinder and have completed only 3 batches so far, so I am by far not an expert. For my first batch I did let the grinder run all night and had to issues- but I also felt uneasy about it, so didn’t do it for the next 2 batches – still trying to figure out the best way – so hopefully someone with more experience than me will respond, but did want to let you know that I did do it and had no issues

      • Hi Angela,
        Even i ran it for 4-5 hrs straight, but i fear something might go wrong always.. Also it heats up dont you feel so? Have just made single batch, chocolate cane out good though.
        So its 15 days after your comment, any more progress?
        Thank you.

  27. Hello,Congrats for your first production I hope to make more & more. If I want to buy cocoa bean from Dominican where could I finDit and I ask about tempering degree should I heat then cold the heat again?

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