Chocolatiering DIY Chocolate Making

Is a Tempering Machine for Chocolate Really Worth It?

tempering machine for chocolate

Thinking about a tempering machine for chocolate, but not sure if it’s worth it? Professional chocolatier Simon Knott explains what temperers do, who should (and shouldn’t) get one, and recommends a couple of excellent chocolate tempering machines.

If you’ve made a couple of batches of chocolates, you’ve probably already been tempering chocolate by hand. Some people love the process of hand tempering chocolate, while others find it tedious and frustrating. Of all the steps in making your own chocolate, tempering is probably the most delicate step, the most likely point where your chocolates will fail.

To overcome this barrier to making professional-standard chocolates, you could invest in a tempering machine for chocolate instead. Automatic chocolate tempering machines take out the guess work, and with that, the frustration and difficulty of hand-tempering.

While they sound like a magic bullet for perfectly tempered chocolate, they are not always the best option. In this article, we discuss the ins and outs of chocolate tempering machines, and help you decide whether it’s a good investment.

Is a Tempering Machine for Chocolate Worth It?

Introduction by Ayla Marika, Chocolatiering Editor

Reasons to invest in a chocolate tempering machine

As Simon Knott discusses in his article on essential home chocolate making machines here, beginning with hand-tempering chocolate on a marble slab is excellent for practice and understanding the process.

However, as your sales grow and your chocolate-making hobby turns into a business, then a chocolate tempering machine is a smart investment, that will not only increase efficiency but also improve the consistency of your chocolate from batch to batch.

Reasons why a chocolate tempering machine is worth it:

  • Saves time, more efficient than hand-tempering
  • Easier to produce large batches of chocolate
  • Improves consistency across batches.

Who should invest in a tempering machine for chocolate?

If you are confident with tempering chocolate by hand using the process explained here, and you are now more interested in increasing your productivity and working with larger volumes of chocolate, then it is time to consider investing in a chocolate tempering machine.

On the other hand, if you are still learning how to temper chocolate by hand, then you will benefit from mastering the skill of tempering by hand before handing the work over to a machine. Likewise, if you are producing chocolate in small batches for friends and family, then a tempering machine is not entirely necessary.

Now, let’s hand over to chocolate expert and maker Simon Knott, to explain the finer details of chocolate tempering machines in his own words.

steel tempering
Tempering chocolate follows the same basic principle as tempering steel.

Chocolate Tempering Machines

By Simon Knott, Professional Chocolate Maker

What does ‘tempering’ chocolate mean?

First, to understand what tempering is and what tempering machines do, we need to learn some of the science behind tempering chocolate and why we do it.

The process of tempering originated with the manufacture of steel. Heating steel in a furnace followed by careful cooling encourages a new crystal structure, making the metal stronger but also easier to work with. Steel and chocolate are vastly different, but the process of tempering chocolate imitates the tempering of steel in many ways.

Chocolate contains chocolate liquor, a paste created from ground, roasted cocoa beans. The liquor contains between 50-60% cocoa butter, which is the element that produces the rich, creamy texture we all enjoy so much. Cocoa butter includes a number of fatty acids, which all solidify at different temperatures and they are vital to the final texture of the chocolate.

The tempering process starts with melting the chocolate when the existing fatty acid crystals break down. The chocolate is allowed to cool and stirred at the same time. So, the fatty acid crystals form nuclei, to which other crystals attach, gradually stabilising the chocolate.

The seeding process further helps the creation of more of the correct fatty acid crystals. Typically, you add 5% of the weight of the batch of buttons or callets to the melted chocolate. These buttons, already tempered, melt and release the correct fatty acid crystals, which then attach to the crystals already present in the melted chocolate.

So, the goal of tempering is to create as many of the correct fatty acid crystals and minimise the rest. Melted chocolate appears smooth, so it’s hard to imagine it contains thousands of crystals, but the fact it sets into hard chocolate clearly proves it does.

Untempered Chocolate:

  • Has a dull surface, prone to white mottling
  • It breaks up easily but without a snap
  • It melts easily in the hand
  • It has a dry texture in the mouth

Tempered Chocolate:

  • Has a shiny surface
  • Breaks with a definite snap
  • Retains its texture in warmer temperatures
  • Has a smooth, delicious melting texture in the mouth

How does a tempering machine for chocolate work?

Once you understand the chocolate tempering process, it is much easier to understand the mechanics of a tempering machine for chocolate. Each machine has a heating element, which heats the chocolate in the bowl either directly or sometimes via a water bath. Using a thermostatic control, the element heats the chocolate to a preset melting temperature.

In addition, the machine will have a mechanism for stirring. This can be a paddle, which is rotated centrally by a motor or the paddle can be stationary and the whole bowl rotates, powered from underneath. Lastly, some machines have a Perspex wheel mechanism, which picks up the chocolate as it rotates and transfers it to a metal hopper with a spout, which is ideal for filling larger quantities such as chocolate bar moulds.

Recommended Chocolate Tempering Machines

Recommended small machine

View unboxing video of the ChocoVision Rev 2B on YouTube – BakeLikeAPro

Recommended medium machine

Customers of ChocoVision products say the tempering instructions are clear and reliable but you do have to keep to them exactly for a good temper. The learning curve is straightforward, assisted by the LCD display of steps. The paddle remains stationary and the bowl spins around it. There is a pause button, which stops the rotation for 70 seconds, so you can dip items or remove chocolate.

Recommended large machine

The Prefamac is a slightly larger temperer for professional use. The Perspex wheel spins, picking up the chocolate from the bowl and transfers it to the metal hopper higher up. This provides a constant flow of tempered chocolate, ideal for filling chocolate bars and moulds. It’s possible to remove the hopper, which makes dipping items in the bowl much easier.

Tempering Machine for Chocolate Operation (Overview)

This is the process for using a tempering machine for chocolate:

  1. Fill the machine with chocolate buttons or callets as required. Switch the element on and adjust to 45° C. Put the lid on and cover it with a few tea towels to speed up melting.
  • Once the chocolate melts, lower the temperature to 29° C for milk chocolate and 31° C for dark chocolate. Add 5% to the weight of the buttons you first filled the machine with. ie. If you added 9kg initially, then add 450 g to seed.
  • Turn the stirrer on and allow the melted chocolate and added buttons to combine. As the buttons melt, they distribute stable fatty acid crystals and create tempered chocolate.
  • Tempering isn’t always an exact science, so you may find the seed buttons you add quickly melt. If so, add the same weight of seed buttons and continue stirring.

Always make sure your chocolate has tempered correctly before using it to make a batch of chocolates. This is a good foolproof method:

Spread a thin layer of chocolate on one side of a palette knife. Put the pallet knife in the fridge for 10 minutes and then bend the blade away, near the chocolate. A thin layer of chocolate should come away cleanly, with a shiny surface and it should break with a definite snap.

do you need a tempering machine for chocolate
You should be confident with tempering chocolate by hand, before investing in a machine.

Business Tips for Maintaining Your Temper Chocolate Machine

  1. Cleaning any chocolate equipment is going to be messy. Your best defence is plenty of hot water and a small amount of detergent. When you clean the bowl of your temperer or melting tank, always dry it thoroughly to remove all traces of water, or it could contaminate your next batch. Keep the water well away from the electrical parts of your machine.
  • It takes a while to melt chocolate in both chocolate tempering machines and melting tanks. So invest in a timer, which will switch on very early in the morning, enabling you to have melted chocolate when you arrive.
  • Itemise your chocolate temperer on your business insurance. It will be one of your most expensive purchases, so it needs to be covered.
  • Don’t skimp on servicing, it pays dividends in the long run. During a service on one of my machines, the small fan cooling the electronics became clogged with dust. The engineer explained this often resulted in overheating and damaged expensive components.


This brings us to the end of this article on tempering machines for chocolate from chocolatier Simon Knott. We hope this article has given you some insight into tempering machines, and helped you decide whether purchasing a chocolate tempering machine is your best option, or not.

To quickly summarize, you SHOULD consider getting a tempering machine for chocolate if you are producing larger batches of chocolate where the tempering process is acting as a bottle neck for the volume of product you want to make and/or you are worried about quality control between multiple batches. So, in other words, small business operators.

On the other hand, you probably SHOULD NOT get a chocolate tempering machine if you’re new to the chocolate craft or make the occasional small batch as a hobby, for friends and family. In other words, chocolate-crafting hobbyists.

Should You Get a Tempering Machine for Chocolate?

  • YES: Small business, including home business operators.
  • NO: Hobbyists making small batches, who are still learning to hand-temper.

If you fall into the second category, Simon’s recommendation is that you go back to basics and master the art of tempering chocolate by hand. It is not difficult, but it does require some knowledge of the science, process and specific temperatures… plus some useful tools. Oh, and practice.

You can learn how the temper chocolate by hand with Chef Prish in our article on what is tempering and how to do it.

For info on other nifty chocolate-making machines and tools, make sure to check out Simon’s article on chocolate making machines and what they do.

Happy chocolatiering!

Article Author

  • Simon Knott

    Simon Knott studied a BSc Hons in Catering Management, Food Science, and Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University and started writing in 2006, specialising in food and drink. He worked as Food & Drink Editor for two county magazines, interviewing chefs and local food producers. In 2010 Simon started a company making traditional fudges and chocolate products. The company quickly grew, supplying local outlets and Simon was awarded five Gold Great Taste Awards for his products. Simon recently completed a Diploma in Copywriting, and continues to write about food and drink, business and skiing.

    View all posts