The surprising thing you didn’t know about the making of instant coffee

Ever wondered how your instant coffee gets made? Gregg Wallace takes you inside a factory that supplies 175,000 jars in 24 hours.

Gregg visits the Nescafe factory located in Derbyshire and discovers a surprising step in the way that instant coffee is created.

Trapping the aroma

Each small coffee granule you scoop out of the jar, is in fact freeze dried. After the beans being roasted, things get interesting.

As the coffee is ground, that delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee we all know well is released. To make sure that smell doesn’t disappear, it’s collected using a clever scientific process: nitrogen gas is pumped through the ground coffee capturing the aroma as it passes through and the vapour is stored in a tank for later (called an aroma storage tank).

Making the granules

We’ll get back to the aroma storage tank, but in the meantime the ground beans get put through a gigantic coffee press, an evaporation process then spread on a conveyor belt and frozen at -40 to -50C. This process is completed within two minutes and then crushed into granules. The coffee granules then go through the drying process, which involves entering an extremely low-pressure environment (the same as sending into space) to rapidly turn the solid mass into a vapour – skipping the liquefying step. The water exits the granules in vapour, leaving a dried coffee granule behind.

Adding the aroma

Now the coffee looks like the finished product, but certainly doesn’t smell like it. As the granules are released down the chute, they are blasted with that saved aroma, then packaged up for our convenience – who knew something we take for granted everyday would have such a journey before becoming our morning brew?

Watch Inside the Factory tonight 8.30pm on Lifestyle FOOD or On Demand.

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