in all the threads two things have become clear: water is the enemy and temperature is important.
ahh, but how important? where i live (sunny southern california) cold/winter should hardly be an issue. right?
on a chilly december morning (well this morning) i set to run my roasted beans through the champion. i had roasted them the day before, and as usual, let them sit in room temperature over night.
after first 10 seconds in the champion, the nice grinder sound was silenced and all i heard was the hum of the engine. nothing was coming out. after opening the champion i saw that the coarse bean particles had formed a rock hard layer along the champion elements, really harder than an unbreakable cracker.
i panicked as i was just about to launch into my christmas chocolate gift making. was the champion broken? or dull? both? could i get spare parts on a short notice? i put all removable parts into the oven and after a few minutes, the 'choco crackers' were pliable again. i cleaned everything, warmed up the cocoa beans and all the champion parts in the oven and started over.
this time champion worked just fine.
conclusion: beware of cocoa bean, champion, and ambient temperature. winter can throw a curve ball to 'usual' procedures. i certainly have never seen such a freeze.
i am dragging a space heater to the kitchen to make sure santha will work fine. and heating santha parts in the oven first. and dreading the tempering. hot summer was one thing. dealing with cold is much more difficult.