Research project "Coffee"

A new project investigates how roasting processes influence coffee beans’ flavor profile.

Optimized coffee roasting — sensors enable smart, efficient, data-driven process control coffee beans roasting

Optimization of coffee roasting by means of sensors
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Germany is one of the world’s leading exporters of coffee products, with the third-largest consumer market worldwide. Its coffee culture dates back to the 18th century, so it’s no wonder German consumers demand a lot from their brews. Coffee companies, in turn, have a vested interest in providing memorable, high-quality coffee products — which they can achieve thanks to the German coffee industry’s extensive specialist expertise. However, the established methods and processes for optimizing how much the beans should be roasted and defining their flavors are not only expensive, but also require trained personnel. For this reason, we aim to build on existing knowledge in this field using digital automation and data evaluation techniques to ensure efficient process control.

Cost-efficient process monitoring for coffee roasting means high-precision flavor profile control

At Fraunhofer IVV, we have developed extensive expertise regarding the sensory analysis of coffee. Now, we aim to combine these insights with our know-how in the area of application-specific sensors with optical measurement technology in the visible and infrared spectral range. The goal of our project is to use sensors that collect chemical data on the coffee to monitor the roasting process with high levels of precision. This will allow us to identify both the ideal roasting cut-off point and the optimal time/temperature ramp rate.

Unleashing the potential of innovative flavor optimization techniques

Harnessing data that has already been collected is another high-potential opportunity. Automated data evaluation and intelligent data processing can help identify the substances that produce the flavors a particular customer wants. These time-saving, individually customizable analysis methods can increase the coffee’s value creation with precise, tailored results, for example, through manufacturing of personalized coffee products.

Monitoring VOCs in roasting gases with sensors

Our expertise extends beyond these individual fields, combining knowledge from areas such as food science, sensor technology, analytics and data science. This means that the methods for monitoring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in roasting gases used in this project can also be transferred to other products, enabling precise control of roasting processes for other goods such as cocoa, nuts or malts.

Project information

This research project is part of Campus of the Senses, a joint initiative by the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS.

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