The processing of soluble coffee requires 5 steps:
1. Roasting the green beans
2. Extracting the roasted and ground coffee
3. Recovering the aroma
4. Evaporating the weak extract; and
5. Drying the concentrated extract to produce spray dried or freeze dried coffee.
Agglomerated coffee (coffee granules) is produced by steam wetting and drying the spray dried coffee causing it to bind together into granules.
Frozen coffee extract is produced by freezing the concentrated extract.
Soluble coffee processing is an energy intensive process and requires 62 GJ of energy to produce 1 Metric Tonne (MT). In Vietnam, over the last 3 years, proactively implementing energy conservation measures has helped reduce energy consumption by 18% from 62 to 51 GJ per MT. These measures include heat recovery from roasting, extraction, air compressors exhaust streams, energy efficient lighting, variable frequency drives and auto cleaning of chiller condensers. This energy use reduction has in turn helped to reduce carbon emissions as well as generating cost savings. In simple terms the annual energy reduction achieved is equivalent to about 4,600 households’ annual electricity consumption. Similarly in Spain, we have conducted an energy audit, to identify several energy conservation measures which will help in reducing consumption by 13%.
Olam’s end-to-end soluble coffee capability now includes 2 soluble coffee manufacturing plants, strategically located in Vietnam and Spain.