Keeping up with Industry Demands
The coffee industry has experienced a significant shift in the last decade. Not only is the industry being affected more and more by the impact of climate change, but there is also a notable shift in consumer demand and preferences. Consumer demands have been increasing exponentially as consumers are looking for more premium coffees and are no longer satisfied with just a hot beverage but are seeking a distinct taste. Coffee companies, in turn, are focusing on providing a “coffee experience” when offering premium grade coffee. Coffee companies address this demand in a number of ways; by sourcing premium grade coffee, providing a combination of consumer desired blends, and packaging and providing the single serve option. Each can be equally important to the consumer in providing a great coffee experience. A roaster can have the most appealing packaging, but it’s the coffee content that will keep consumers returning for more of the product. At the same time, if coffee freshness isn’t present, repeat orders will diminish.
In order to provide the freshest coffee possible and preserve the quality of their coffee, coffee roasters pack and seal their coffee immediately after roasting in a package that has a one-way degassing valve.
As freshly roasted coffee cools, it releases carbon dioxide gas. The degassing process can last up to a week depending on the roast as well as other factors. Without the proper mechanism in place to release the carbon dioxide, degassing coffee inside of a sealed package will cause the package to swell and potentially burst. Freshly roasted coffee can be bulk degassed; however the problem with this approach, in addition to tying up inventory and time, is that environmental oxygen and airborne contaminants cause the coffee to rapidly lose its freshness and quality taste.
The solution is to use one-way degassing valves that are placed on coffee packaging. The purpose of one-way degassing valve is to allow carbon dioxide gas from freshly roasted coffee to escape from the packaging while keeping environmental oxygen and contaminants from coming in.
The direct benefit to coffee roasters is giving them the ability to package freshly roasted coffee immediately to enable and enhance preservation of quality. Additionally, not having to bulk degas decreases time to market and production costs.
PLI-VALV® patented one way degassing valves vent roasted coffee’s natural carbon dioxide gas from sealed packaging while providing an effective barrier to degrading oxygen entering the package. PLI-VALV® products afford the coffee roaster a competitive advantage by preserving freshness and ensuring the highest level of coffee quality while also increasing production throughput and eliminating degassing hold time for significant cost savings. Valves also enhance the aesthetics of coffee package by virtually disappearing into the graphics, offering flexibility in valve placement location. Its flexibility eliminates the heat-seal scarring and exposed vent hole required by traditional molded valves as well as increasing line speed.
One-way degassing valve technology has developed immensely. It has evolved to include various enhancements that improve product functionality and ease of use. Roasters prefer to have smaller, thinner transparent valves that will not interfere with product packaging and provide the lowest oxygen levels possible. In other words, one-way degassing valves should perform the function but be as unobtrusive as possible. Plitek has continuously worked towards enhancing performance features of one-way degassing valves over the last twenty-five years with great success.
One of Plitek’s patented innovations recently introduced to the market is PV-25-FV; a one-way degassing valve with an integrated filtering base that will additionally enhance valve effectiveness and help with product freshness and quality preservation. Its carefully designed structure inhibits coffee grounds from entering the valve and interfering with its functionality. It is one in a line of many product generations that help roasters provide the best quality coffee to their customers.
As a response to industry demand for single serve, Plitek developed PLI-VALV Mini Valve; a one-way degassing valve for fractional packaging. The new valve is transparent and compact, at 0.50”x 0.50” in size, with significant cost advantages over standard size valves. The applicator for the new PLI-VALV Mini Valve can apply up to 150 valves per minute. A custom engineered option is available to double the rate.
As coffee industry demands and consumer preferences are changing, all of the industry players are shifting along. Producers are doing everything they can to protect their crop, roasters work on continuously offering great quality coffee demanded by the market, and packaging companies offer innovative packaging solutions. The addition of an effective degassing valve adds the security that all this effort to provide the best coffee to consumers is not spoiled by the effects of oxygen on roasted coffee.
Plitek continues to develop cutting edge solutions for the coffee roasting marketplace, from faster, more streamlined applicators with features like valve detection, automatic splicing and oil detection, to improvements to the valves in areas like increased adhesion and improved valve functionality, all of which will aid roasters in providing premium, great quality coffee.