Consumers expect their instant coffee and tea to capture the aromatic, richly flavored essence of freshly brewed beans and leaves, but without the wait. Manufacturers look for processes and equipment that can maximize yield without compromising on that final product quality, solubility, or shelf life.
Instant coffee producers worldwide associate the GEA name with state-of-the-art plants, components, and complete lines, whatever the process or final product. Backed by decades of industry knowhow, our project managers and engineers work with customers to design, install, and maintain equipment and complete process lines tailored to just about any business or manufacturing goal. Our attention to the details that matter means that our customers can rely on the most robust, consistent and reliable solutions, whatever the capacity or throughput.
At GEA years of research has been dedicated to developing extraction, aroma recovery, freeze/spray drying and agglomeration technologies that can capture all of the key aromatic components from your valuable beans and leaves, every batch, and lock them into highly soluble instant formulations. From flexible extraction systems that offer top performance for different types of valuable beans and leaves, to cost-effective aroma recovery processing, we can tailor equipment that will maximize the extract quality, yield, and ultimately profits from your processes. And our experts can work with you to design and test efficient, sustainable processes for handling and processing new ingredients and flavors, so that you can offer consumers an even wider range of instant teas and coffees, for every situation, boost your competitive profile and increase market share.
Take a look at our industry-leading portfolio of resource saving, efficient technologies for end-to-end processing, from ingredients reception through to final packaging, and talk to our experts about how we can configure the optimum processing solutions for your products, capacity, and plant layout.
Water at high pressure and temperature is pumped through the roasted, ground coffee granules, to dissolve any soluble solids and produce the coffee extract. GEA offer three versatile extraction technologies The FIC® extractor enhances extraction rate at the desired temperature. The CARINE extractor prolongs extraction time, at higher temperatures, to optimize yields. The CONTEX technology offers short, low temperature processing to extract the aroma-rich fraction of the coffee.
The hydrolysis fraction is extracted at a feed water temperature of approx. 180°C and a pressure of 16 bar, to increase overall yield. Following centrifugation the weak extract undergoes evaporation to a concentration of 38–46% solids for freeze drying, or approx. 50% for spray drying. Water is gently removed in the evaporator (TVR or MVR heated) under vacuum at low temperature to help preserve coffee taste. A decanter separates the coffee extracts from the solids, and the recovered coffee extract is recycled back into the process. The dry solids are used for energy recovery.
The extract is centrifuged to separate any insoluble material, and then undergoes an aroma recovery, or freeze concentration process. The extract is stripped of its volatiles in a flash evaporator, the mixture of aroma volatiles and water vapor is then further concentrated using a distillation column, and the resulting distillate recovered by condensation. The aroma distillate is subsequently added to the concentrated extract prior to spray or freeze drying.
To prevent the loss of valuable aroma components, the roasted coffee beans undergo micro-grinding just before the concentrated coffee extract is dried. The GEA MicroWet grinding system uses a wet grinding technique to capture and preserve both the flavor and aroma of the coffee bean, and is designed to help you increase both the overall yield of the coffee beans and the capacity of the dryer.
Spray drying the freshly concentrated coffee extract produces free-flowing, coffee powder, or, if an agglomeration step is added, coffee granules. The wetted powder is agglomerated, sieved, and transferred to a fluid bed for drying and cooling. The multi-stage GEA FSD® Spray Dryer with integrated fluid bed is ideal to help ensure safe and efficient processing.
Freshly concentrated coffee is cooled, foamed and subsequently pre-frozen in preparation for freeze drying. The pre-frozen product is then pumped into either a belt freezer or rota freezer to produce a solid phase (flakes), which is then granulated, milled, sieved and automatically charged into trays, for loading into the freeze dryer. GEA offer two types of freeze dryers. The CONRAD® range is ideal for the continuous processing of large volumes, while our RAY® batch freeze dryers are designed for smaller capacities.
Precise dosing and sifting and safe, gentle handing of the dried product during storage, conveying and packing all help to retain quality. The GEA Scan-Vibro sifter removes dust and oversized particles before packing. Proprietary GEA vibration technology means that the freeze-dried coffee can be conveyed in cold room environments at temperatures as low as –53 °C.
GEA offer a range of solutions to fill coffee powders into bags, boxes and drums. Our range of bag/sack powder fillers are designed for low, medium and high production capacities. Latest additions to the range, for low capacity powder plants, include the semi-automatic SmartFil M1, and the fully automatic HYGiPac R1. Bag palletizing and emptying options are available for integration to provide a turnkey solution.
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GEA is one of the world’s largest systems suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors. Our portfolio includes machinery and plants as well as advanced process technology, components and comprehensive services. Used across diverse industries, they enhance the sustainability and efficiency of production processes globally.
GEA is listed in the German MDAX and the STOXX® Europe 600 Index and is also among the companies comprising the DAX 50 ESG and MSCI Global Sustainability Indices.
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