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Spotlight On: Nitrogen In Coffee

Starting the day with a fresh, tasty cup of coffee is important to many people’s daily life. Whether you’re a barista serving hot coffee, a coffee merchant or a retailer offering whole bean, ground or instant, you want to ensure you have a quality product that will keep customers keep coming back.

Extending the shelf life of coffee roasts is a constant goal for suppliers, and nitrogen gas offers a practical, cost-effective solution. So today, we’re going to look at the invaluable uses of nitrogen gas in the coffee industry.

packaged coffee beans

Extends The Shelf Life

Coffee production has an inherent issue that significantly shortens its shelf life. The roasting of coffee beans brings out the beans’ flavour, colour, and aroma to help create a quality product. But those same beans are now at risk of becoming flavourless and stale when exposed to air for long periods. Additionally, the oil from ground coffee beans will decay and leak a gas that negatively impacts the final flavour.

Whether roasting or grinding coffee, the clock is ticking on its shelf life. This is because carbon dioxide is released from coffee once roasted; this is called degassing. While whole bean coffee will release carbon dioxide slower than ground coffee, the degassing process will accelerate in both when exposed to the air.

Whole beans should be packaged as soon as possible after roasting to keep the coffee at the highest quality. The packaging stage is where nitrogen gas flushing comes in.

 

What Is Nitrogen Gas Flushing?

Food grade nitrogen gas is:

  • Food safe and odourless
  • Inert, non-reactive

Nitrogen gas is excellent for gas flushing because it’s an inert gas. In comparison, oxygen is a very reactive gas, making coffee and other foods go stale at an increased rate.

The flushing process is a vital part of the packaging process. The filled container is immersed in nitrogen as it’s sealed, displacing the oxygen and protecting the quality of the coffee inside.

As bottled gas suppliers, we know that nitrogen gas flushing is a clean, safe way of removing all the unwanted moisture from packaging filled with food, or in this case, coffee.

A certain oxygen level should remain even after this process, which makes this a delicate balance that yields fantastic results once achieved. However, oxygen levels over 5% will harm your coffee’s freshness and overall quality, but reducing that to 3% or less with nitrogen flushing will protect your product.

coffee machinery

Benefits for Coffee Packaging

The nitrogen gas is used for flushing out the oxygen from the packaging filled with freshly roasted coffee. This removes the oxygen and any moisture residue that could cause bacterial growth.

Coffee packaged this way can stay fresh for up to six months after being packaged, but once purchased and opened, that will no longer be the case.

During the flush, the packaging is quickly sealed and made airtight; you can be confident that your product is the best it can be and ready for sale.

Coffee pods

Longer Shelf Life For Coffee Pods And Bags

The lifespan of coffee pods can be extended using the same nitrogen gas flushing process. By acquiring a combination filler and sealer machine, nitrogen cylinders can be attached to adapt the same method of flushing into their integrated systems and keep your product fresh and tasty.

 

Bulk Silo Coffee Storage

Despite the advantages of packaging coffee quickly, sometimes it needs to be stored in bulk in a silo. In this case, it’s still possible to utilise nitrogen. Storage silos can be outfitted with nitrogen gas cylinders that constantly blanket the beans to keep the oxygen and moisture out.

With a system of blanketing and purging, the contents of your coffee silo storage can remain at 3% oxygen or lower, keeping your stock at peak freshness.

Coffee beans in a silo

How Can You Benefit From Nitrogen gas?

Vacuum sealing is a valid option when packaging coffee, but nitrogen flushing substantially increases efficiency. To package your coffee with vacuum sealing, you would first need to wait for your coffee to off-gas.

Remember earlier when we talked about coffee giving off carbon dioxide? Before sealing your product, you need to wait for 24 – 48 hours with your coffee exposed to the harmful oxygen for this to pass. Nitrogen flushing allows you to skip this step and move straight to packaging your product.

 

Reputable Nitrogen Gas Supplier

As the leading company in various bottle gases, we at Adams Gas offer exceptional gas cylinder filling on a contractual basis that can cover everything from collecting, refilling and re-delivering customer-owned cylinders.

We pride ourselves on our reliability and punctuality when delivering our gas goods. If you have any questions about our nitrogen gas supply or how it can help with your coffee packaging, contact us today, and one of our experienced team members will be happy to assist you.