The batch GEA Niro FIC™ extractor has been developed for production of high quality coffee extracts.
The extractor consists of a number of vertical percolator columns arranged in a battery. Each column or vessel is in turn filled with ground coffee beans, after which water at a predefined temperature is added. This process is in principle a batch process. By means of a valve manifold, the columns are inter-connected and thereby the extraction process becomes continuous and counter-current, which provides an excellent quality coffee extract where it is possible to control the yield and quality of the aroma fraction.
All flowsheet animations are available in the download area.
Depending on the degree of automation, this extractor can be operated in different modes:
- Traditional IC mode manual operated
Dry ground coffee beans are filled into the column(s) and then soaked with extract from the previous (up-stream) column. As the columns are filled/extracted counter-currently the fresh feed water is entering the column with the most spent coffee.
The IC extractor has a well known design with the columns (percolators) placed in a straight line for easier overview and manual operation by the plant operator. It is possible to divert/split the extract from each column in an aroma fraction (the first) and a hy-drolysis fraction (the last) before it is passed on to the next column.
The extraction time is short and it is possible to discharge the wanted amount of the aroma fraction for further treatment in an aroma recovery equipment. The utilization (high yield) of the coffee beans can be controlled, as the extractor is pressurized.
- FIC™ (Fast Extraction Mode)
Dry ground coffee beans are pre-wetted and then filled into the column(s). This freshly charged column is then evacuated for air followed by a soaking with hot fresh water, allowing the high quality first draw to be extracted with only pure fresh water at the desired temperature.
Two separate extraction water streams at different stages are used to obtain a controlled high quality aroma fraction, which can be discharged separately from the hydrolysis fraction. In the “FIC™” mode the operation of the extractor battery is fully automatic. This secures a minimum (short) extraction time and full control of the amount and quality of the aroma fraction, as well as solids content (yield) of the hydrolisis fraction. The extraction is, as in the “IC” mode done under pressure.
The columns in FIC™ extractors are designed in a compact circular enclosed arrangement to save space. It is possible to operate the FIC extractor in different modes including that of the IC extractor, however automatic, to produce different yields and qualities of coffee extract.