Green-roasted coffee beans keep the taste but ditch the smell

A Dutch coffee roasting plant has streamlined its entire operation to ensure every stage of the roasting process is environmentally friendly, generating savings on bills while eliminating the strong smell of toasted coffee that previously wafted around the plant.

Peeze coffee roasters only use green energy generated from wind, water and solar sources, along with electricity generated from their own solar panel, says Rene Smit, Environmental Officer at Peeze. “It’s a little more expensive, but not that much more,” Smit told edie.

The higher costs are nothing compared to the company’s overall savings since it has redesigned its entire roasting process, says an enthusiastic Smit. “We recycle 80% of the air that passes through the roaster, which has eliminated the smell that the people next-door used to live with,” he says. Eighty percent is the maximum amount of air that can be recycled, because some fresh oxygen is needed to pass through the burner with each roast. But the company has nevertheless made large savings, with less oxygen consumed and the elimination of the costly business of processing afterburner gas, says Smit.

“We’ve also made big savings in the cooling stage,” continues Smit. The beans are cooled down from 200°C using a water spray process akin to sweating, explains Smit. The company calls it controx-cooling, where a fine aerosol of water is sprayed onto the beans, and cools them through the process of evaporation. Seven litres of water can cool 100kg of beans, says Smit.

Blowing the dirt and dust off the beans, rather than washing them, has also saved water. “We save 2,000 litres of water per hour with our cyclone process,” says Smit, who also boasts 99% savings in aluminium through the use of plastic packaging, which can itself be recycled 10-20 times. “And we use rainwater to run our air conditioning system,” adds Smit, although he says he can’t quite explain how because he doesn’t understand it himself. “It’s something clever to do with adiabatic cooling,” he quips.

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