Neuhaus Neotec has united with NKG Kala Hamburg to bring the global coffee industry a new customer lab scaled plant for vapor treatment of green coffee.
Neuhaus Neotec has been among the world’s leading suppliers of coffee processing machines and plants for more than 50 years. In addition to the core components of roasters and grinders, its product portfolio covers the entire process chain from green coffee intake to the preparation of roasted coffee for packaging. The manufacturer develops plant components for companies from all walks of the supply chain.
Neuhaus Neotec Head of Marketing Lars Henkel says NKG Kala Hamburg, one of Europe’s largest and most modern green coffee warehousing and processing facilities, is one of Neuhaus Neotec’s most important partners in green coffee processing. In collaboration with sister company, Devex, Neuhaus Neotec has fitted out its entire new plant.
“NKG Kala Hamburg is a company of Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) and specialises in green coffee handling. With the help of Neuhaus Neotec, they will be able now to easily upscale the steaming results from this lab plant to its larger industrial-scaled vaporisation plant,” Henkel says.
“The lab plant will be ideal for customers wanting to conduct smaller trials before they move to a bigger scale plant for larger orders.”
Neuhaus Neotec has been a partner of NKG Kala Hamburg since 1984 and has been involved in each iteration of the green coffee factory.
“We were involved in the development of the first coffee centre in 1984, the second in the late 90s, and the third-generation establishment in the early 2000s, the most beautiful and sophisticated plant. Collaborating with NKG Kala Hamburg for almost 40 years has created a close connection between the two companies and allowed us to strengthen our good reputation in the field of green coffee processing,” Henkel says.
Built between November 2021 and November 2022, the new facility extends over two levels and is approximately 10 metres high. The lab plant was officially opened to customers in May 2023 and consists of a mixer for pre-moistening, a pressure bin, a vacuum dryer, and a cooling tray.
NKG Kala Hamburg’s Head of Steaming Department Alexander Jank says the lab plant offers the opportunity to execute an almost unlimited number of trials to reach desired results with the pre-processed coffee, under industrial conditions, together with our customers. He says this can then be scaled up in the larger industrial plant.
“The installation process included a precise and extensive calibration phase between the lab plant and the larger industrial plant, testing various parameters to achieve identical results on both plants to assure upscaling possibilities,” Jank says.
“Due to the smaller size of the lab plant, the usage of raw materials as well as energy resources for these trials are reduced to a minimum which decreases emissions.”
NKG Kala Hamburg’s Managing Director Sven Hähnsen says beside steaming, NKG Kala Hamburg offers various services like container scheduling, pre-delivery checks, standardised green coffee cleaning, blending, and warehousing.
“In the steaming plant Arabica and Robusta beans can be processed using a unique in-house vaporisation system that operates without any chemical additives and is always customised to client’s needs,” says Hähnsen.
“The product enhancement of the client’s green coffee is done by processing it with pure steam at elevated temperatures and pressure. The water comes from our own 330-meter-deep well and is converted to steam in our boiler house.
“Arabica coffees can become milder or bolder in its final form after this treatment. Certain irritants are reduced, off-flavours can be eliminated, and aged coffees can be refreshed. Robusta coffees also become milder and softer after treatment, to an extent that the typical Robusta taste is refined or disappears completely.”
The sample ramp is the first stop on the green coffee’s journey through NKG Kala Hamburg.
“After the arrival of the goods from the country of origin, an incoming inspection is carried out, during which both the goods and the respective container are inspected by our specialists and, depending on the customer’s requirements, samples are taken. The samples are then expertly inspected for details like temperature, odour, and appearance, and digitally documented for the customer,” Hähnsen says.
“The weight of the green coffee is a decisive factor for our customers. We have a weighbridge directly on the yard with which all containers and trucks are weighed both empty and full. The weight is determined by receiving and charging scales in the silo or by platform scales in the warehouse and is systematically tracked. All our scales are calibrated regularly.”
Before the green coffee enters one of the silo bins for storage or further processing, it undergoes two identical cleaning steps and is cleaned of dust, husks, and other foreign particles with the help of sieves and air classifiers. With the help of neodymium magnets, metallic foreign particles are removed from the product.
“The entire system of our silo complex is controlled from our control centre. We have more than 330 storage and loading bins with a total capacity of 35,000 metric tonnes of coffee,” Hähnsen says.
“Our warehouses offer space for conventional bagged goods and big bags. Specialty and commercial coffees as well as batches for further processing can be stored here. Coffee from the silo can be bagged into jute bags or big bags, which can be loaded into export containers or trucks. The entire handling of the warehouse is digital and guarantees transparency and traceability of the coffee at any time.”
Hähnsen and Jank are eager to build NKG Kala Hamburg’s customers base, reinforcing that in addition to storage, quality control and processing, the company offers individual logistics solutions and can respond flexibly to adjustments in the market.
“The greatest challenge of the project will be to convince customers to open their minds to these semi-finished coffee products, considering them as new ingredients for their green coffee portfolio, as single origins or as part of a blend,” Hähnsen says.
Jank adds that NKG Kala Hamburg hopes to become part of the research and development process for its customers and support them to achieve optimal tastes for their products, that being roast and ground, whole bean, instant, or cold brew coffee.
“The partnership with Neuhaus Neotec is a natural fit. We’re honoured to partner with such a long-standing company in the global coffee industry,” he says.
“Having cooperated with Neuhaus Neotec for so many years and sharing the same passion for coffee and innovation, Neuhaus Neotec is the ideal partner for this expansion, and we are very much looking forward to making this project a success.”
This article was first published in the July/August 2023 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.