Production Methods

Coffee Production Methods

Coffea Arabica makes up 70% of world coffee production, which is geographically distributed as follows:

  • 20% South America (excluding Brazil)
  • 34% Brazil (natural)
  • 30% Central America
  • 10% Africa
  • 6% Asia

Coffea Robusta accounts for 30% of world production, which is geographically distributed as follows:

  • 32% Africa
  • 55% Asia
  • 13% Brazil

Storage Methods

Green coffee beans are usually packed in 60 or 69 kg sacks, depending on the country of production.

Each sack can be stored for approximately one year at a maximum temperature of 35 °C and residual humidity of 75%. Coffee sacks are normally transported to destination by sea. The main seaports for coffee imports are: New Orleans, Le Havre, Hamburg, Antwerp, Bremen, Genoa and Trieste.

Checking and Selection

The type of coffee bean selected depends on the characteristics required of the roasted product. With a high-quality product, coffee roasters can personally inspect each lot and eliminate defective or excessively large or small beans, as well as foreign matter, by means of optic or UV sorting equipment.

The coffee roaster can then combine different coffee bean types to obtain a blend that guarantees a flavoursome, aromatic cup of espresso. A skilled, experienced roaster is able to select:

  • the blend (percentages of bean species of different origins)
  • the degree of roasting (light roast, medium or full)
  • the roasting time required (slow, medium or rapid)

Decaffeination

The decaffeination process dates back to 1905, when Ludwig Roselius developed a process that separated the caffeine from coffee beans. The benefit of decaffeination is that the alkaloid caffeine can, in excessive quantities, have an adverse effect on certain people. The decaffeination process is totally ecological thanks to the use of natural solvents that have no negative impact on consumer health.

Four procedures have been developed to date to extract caffeine, which is a soluble substance, from raw coffee:

  • ETHYL ACETATE: raw coffee beans are washed in ethyl acetate, a natural solvent.
  • WATER: method based on use of column- type extractors in which coffee beans are treated with a water solution saturated with soluble caffeine-free coffee extract.
  • METHYLENE CHLORIDE: raw coffee beans are washed with dichloromethane, a chemical solvent that evaporates naturally at temperatures higher than 40 °C.
  • CARBON DIOXIDE: method consisting in washing coffee beans with pressurised carbon dioxide (liquid gas) / P = 250 bar, that dissolves the caffeine.

Current regulations specify that decaffeinated coffee must have less than 0.1 % caffeine. The regulations also establish the volume of solvent residues present in products decaffeinated using methylene chloride. Extracted caffeine is used by the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries.

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