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Swiss decaffeinator handles both tea & coffee.

In the current decaffeination market, many options are available in the tea and coffee industry and to consumers concerning the different types of decaffeination processes. HACO Ltd, based in Gumligen, Switzerland, offers significant decaffeination processes to its customers, be it decaffeinating with methylene chloride, ethyl acetate, water or with high pressure [CO.SUB.2].

HACO AG is a longtime supplier to the food industry of instant coffee, soups and broths both in Europe and abroad. The company takes pride in fulfilling special needs of customers. Charcoal-roasted green coffee for use in soluble coffee for a Japanese customer is only one of their wide range of custom-tailored products.

HACO was rounded in 1922, and began decaffeinating coffee in 1930, followed by producing soluble coffee in 1945. It was the first company to freeze dry coffee in Switzerland, starting production in 1969. At the bequest of Halssen & Lyon, HACO started decaffeinating tea in 1979, using also high pressure [CO.SUB.2] for tea in 1989.

Currently, H & L is the only tea client for HACO, but as the company is the exclusive decaffeinator for H & L, its volumes are significant. On the coffee side, the largest Swiss supermarket chain, is an excellent client, but by no means the only one.

At HACO, coffee is blended and refined for the solubilization process for both themselves and the private label market. The company also carries out decaffeination on a toll basis.

Because of its extensive experience in decaffeinating spray and freeze drying, the company has customers from all over the world.

Decaffeinating Coffee

Coffee is decaffeinated by two methods: ethyl acetate and water process. In both cases, the methodology is well known, but the execution of that methodology is the distinction between different toll decaffeinators. Because different coffees have different chemical signatures, special care must be taken to treat various types of coffee differently in order to retain the highest flavor levels. It is interesting to note that Robusta is more complicated, and thus, more expensive to decafreinate than Arabica beans.

In the water process used by HACO, green coffee is treated with water, which carries away caffeine from the coffee, along with some soluble flavor compounds. The caffeine is extracted from the compound saturated water using activated carbon. The activated carbon absorbs the caffeine from the aqueous green extract due to its surface activity. Afterwards, the solution, free from caffeine, is re-integrated into the green coffee beans extracted beforehand. After the absorption of the green extract, now free from caffeine, the initial state of the green coffee beans is re-established with the exception of the caffeine, and then the beans are carefully dried.

In the HACO water process, no solvent is used during the whole decaffeination process.

In the case of ethyl acetate, the beans are water-treated, then decaffeinated with ethyl acetate, which is a natural compound, and then steamed to drive off the ethyl acetate along with the caffeine. Once again, the beans are carefully dried to maintain their flavor characteristics.

Every single step of the process is adjusted to the different types of green coffee to be treated. The inevitable weight loss resulting from each decaffeination process varies depending on the types of coffee and their origin.

The ethyl acetate used by the firm is a substance which meets all requirements of an up-to-date food technology, says HACO." It is widely spread in nature and is a natural flavor component of many fruits; it is even traceable in normal roasted coffee," HACO continues.

The ethyl acetate processed by the company is derived from natural raw materials gained by a biological process of fermentation. The coffee decaffeinated with this process is therefore declared by specialized producers as being: "Natural, decaffeinated with water and natural ingredients." Both the solvent and the finished product comply with the severe standards set for kosher products.

Decaffeinating Tea

HACO utilizes three methods for the decaffeination of tea; methylene chloride, ethyl acetate and [C0.SUB.2]. The former two processes are well-known throughout the tea processing industry, but the latter process, [CO.SUB.2], is a relatively new, natural process.

[C0.SUB.2], one of the most modern decaffeination technologies, is a high pressure, very selective process. By selecting the ideal parameter of process, the tea is decaffeinated particularly smooth, with low losses in flavor and color.

Soluble Coffee

HACO produces soluble coffee using spray-drying, agglomerating and freeze-drying processes. The methodology for all three processes is well known, but as with decaffeinating, the skill is in the execution. This is especially true in freeze-drying, because heat is applied to frozen coffee while under vacuum to drive off liquids. If this is done wrong, the extract will melt, ruining the process. Since freeze-drying at HACO is a continuous process, a melt would be disastrous, and since the process will not work without heat being applied, a high degree of skill is needed.

HACO's soluble products are sold under their own labels outside Switzerland but, in Switzerland, they pack for the private label industry.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:HACO Ltd.
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Oct 1, 1992
Previous Article:Japan: express line to espresso.
Next Article:Drought affects tea production.

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