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ORV: a toll decaffeinator nestled in the German countryside.

My experience on the autobahn was not as scary as I was led to believe. There were those few cars, ok, more than a few, wizzing by me and so, I just got out of their way. What I did find both beautiful and frustrating was the ride to the decaffeination processor, ORV in Hambergen-Oldenbuttel. Upon receiving directions, I drove and drove past farms and dairies, viewing beautiful houses, but not seeing any sort of plant; yes, there were a few industrial parks here and there but nothing that seemed remotely like ORV. Finally, after consulting with an ingenious German man who drew me a map in the dirt and a mother and child waving me in the general direction, way in back of the hills, behind the farms and village, nestled really in woodlands, I found ORV. The plant is huge but there's absolutely no sight of it from the main road, except a smokestack, a hint at the vastness of this facility.

ORV was a former Cafe Hag decaffeination facility. Two years ago, a major share of ORV was purchased by Plantextrakt, the decaffeination, instant and extraction processor of tea herbs of the Martin Bauer Group, which supplies herb to herbal packers and herb tea packers. Werner M. Bar is the ceo of ORV/Plantextrakt. Bar's interest in decaffeinated coffee came only after numerous tea clients who also had coffee in their product line asked him if he could handle coffee for them as well. Bar had originally gone to ORV (then Cafe Hag) for toll decaffeination for these clients, and when the Philip Morris/Jacobs Suchard merger transpired, major cutbacks were launched and the company decided the Cafe Hag facility was not cost-efficient. Thus, Bar, originally in herbs and tea decafs, found himself unable to resist an opportunity.

ORV processes coffee for low acid content and decaffeination. The facility yearly processes 65 million lbs. of decaffeinated and acid-reduced coffee. ORV's clients are worldwide, from all over Europe, North America and Asia. All green coffee comes through the port of Bremen and transported about 30 miles.

Bar talks very highly of his decaffeination process for coffee - ethyl acetate and how the acid-reduced coffees are treated by a coffee safe steaming process, called the Lendrich Processing System. The quality is excellent, a natural process using a natural substance - ethyl acetate, Bar tells me. The residual balances of caffeine and solvent are well below current EEC (European Economic Community) regulations. Caffeine reduction can be done up to 97% of the original caffeine content to guarantee a 99.7% caffeine free coffee. He continues, weight loss is normally a minimal 2.5% and the average humidity of the coffee after production, ranges from 10-12%.

ORV processes and decaffeinates coffee on a tollage basis and Bar is astounded at the many miles his customers come in order to decaffeinated coffee at his facility. The company also offers a range of decaffeinated and acid reduced coffee or blends of coffee from their own inventories for the smaller roaster or wholesaler. Bar listens to his clients. If they wish a new quality standard, or a different sort of sample, they receive it. The company analyses each batch in their own quality control laboratories and certifies each shipment accordingly. Together with their associated tea decaffeination processor, Plantextract, the company boasts they have the most efficient research and development centers in the European coffee and tea industry.

Caffeine is a commodity for the soft drink and pharmaceutical industries.

Bauer's companies have become important suppliers to the tea and coffee industries. Originally starting in herbs and growing into the world's largest supplier of herbs, the company diversified into decaffeinating tea through Plantextract. A. H. Holliday, Scandrett International is Plantextract's exclusive supplier in North America for decaffeinated and instant teas. Martin Bauer will supply herbs to all packers in loose form as they are a supplier, and not a competitor.

Plantextract also produces instant teas and instant herbals. While instant herbals are being introduced in Europe, none have made it to the U.S. The potential for herbal beverages have not even been realized in North America, while they should be up there on the supermarket shelves, next to bottled water. While the herbal beverages are popular in Europe, there is no where near that amount of interest in the North American market. Bar believes that herbal beverages have more potential in the consumer market than tea and coffee.

The Martin Bauer Group

Plantextract, a subsidiary of the Martin Bauer group, was established in 1979. Now, almost 13 years after the first extraction facility was erected in Vestenbergsgreuth, Germany, Plantextrakt and their associated companies are one of the world's largest producers of botanical extracts.

Beginning with six employees in 1979, Plantextrakt employs more than 400 people in the conversion of all kinds of herbs and teas into extracts and other preparations for the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. Closeness to the parent company Martin Bauer affords them access to large stocks of raw material stored in their many warehouses.

All of their operations are strictly controlled to achieve the precise chemical and physical specifications which have been established for each product and for each customers.

PHOTO : ORV headquarters in Hambergen-Oldenbuttel.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Oldenbutteler Rohstoffveredelung Gesellschaft mit beschraenkter Haftung und Company KG, contract coffee processing and decaffeination
Author:McCabe, Jane
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Previous Article:Update on teabag paper manufacturers.
Next Article:The Martin Bauer Group - at home in the world of herbs.

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