STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 4, Number 1

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Page 49 of 67

50 STiR tea & coffee industry international evenue from capsule coffee exceeded sales of traditionally packaged ground roast in the U.S. for the first time last year. In 2015 Americans will consume more than 1.8 billion cups of single-serve a month. European roasters will produce nearly as many espresso capsules and tea blenders will fill several billion sin- gle-serve tea capsules. On both continents portion packs are quickly replacing ground and instant coffee and eroding sales of specialty tea in pyramid bags. The new normal Roasting, grinding, packaging, and marketing coffee in portion packs is the new normal for coffee manufacturers supplying millions of in-home and office brewers. Market penetration remains thin in food service but deals like Subway's purchase of Keurig's Bolt brewers for its 20,000 U.S. outlets suggest that is changing as well. Sourcing, roasting, and blending are little changed but single-serve demands great flexibility in packaging and significantly greater precision and new techniques for grind- ing, filling, and packing capsules. The first hurdle for roasters was to replicate with consistency the flavor profile of the most popular blends from big brands like Folgers and Starbucks. It took five years for the team at Peet's Coffee & Tea to develop techniques (primarily grinding and compacting) that guaranteed consumers could not tell the difference between ground roast and portion pack versions of their most popular blends. Accustomed to a golden standard based on 4 oz. of coffee, 64 oz. of water and a four minute extraction, roasters had only 20 seconds and 8 grams of coffee to achieve the ideal brew strength of 1.15% to 1.35% solids. This required the extraction of be- tween 18% and 22% of the coffee particle's soluble solids. Contract roasters can now replicate extraction profiles in a month. Brewers dispensing 8 oz. of hot water in less than 30 seconds mean that "we are already behind what is required for the optimum brew cycle," observes Jeff McIntosh, roast master at Intelligent Blends, San Diego. "We spend hours of R&D working with our customers' blends to ensure the same great taste when moving from drip grinds to single serve formats," he said. "To do this we repeatedly test dissolvable solids and adjust the extraction percentage of the final cupped products," he said. By Dan Bolton Precision Manufacturing is Essential to Capsule Success Portion packs are the new normal for high-volume roasters R "Grinding is a crucial step in coffee processing and, when done properly, can dramatically improve coffee extraction and aroma retention, thereby optimizing the brewed coffee quality." - Scott Will, Modern Process Equipment (MPE)

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