A Guide to Nitrogen Flushing for Coffee – Safe or Not?

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Nitrogen Flushing for Coffee

May 30, 2022

If you’ve ever prepared some freshly roasted coffee, opened the bag, and exclaimed, “That coffee is fresh!” then you should read this to find out why.

What is Nitrogen?

To begin, a short review of nitrogen’s properties: it is an inert, non-reactive gas with no odor or taste. And considering that nitrogen gas accounts for around 78% of the earth’s atmosphere, it is not only simple to get but also very affordable.

In addition, nitrogen is a heavier gas than oxygen, which, as most of us are aware, is a highly reactive gas that causes many items, including coffee, to get stale.

Nitrogen Flushing for Coffee

It has come to our attention that nitrogen is an excellent gas for deoxygenating coffee bags that have just been loaded with freshly roasted or ground coffee and are still in the process of being filled.

Nitrogen hinders the development of germs by removing both oxygen and moisture from the environment.

Rapid closure of the bag with a one-way valve will provide you with a packaging that will preserve the taste and fragrance of your coffee for as long as possible, ensuring that it is in excellent condition for when your customers are ready to prepare the ideal cup for themselves.

Coffee and Oxygen

When coffee is roasted, the beans release their oils and moisture, which begin to oxidize as soon as the roasting process is complete. Oxygen gas present in the air causes these oils and moisture to evaporate, leading to a significant loss in flavor and fragrance.

Overview of Nitrogen Flushing

The word accomplishes precisely what it implies: It removes oxygen and replaces it with nitrogen. And it’s a technique that’s utilized extensively across a broad range of businesses, but it’s perhaps best known for its role in preventing packaged food from going bad.

Source: MTPak Coffee

Nitrogen flushing is a process that coffee roasters use to expel the oxygen from roasted coffee beans. It’s said that this improves the flavor and shelf life of the coffee.

Is Nitrogen Gas Dangerous?

Nitrogen gas does not pose any health risks. Because nitrogen gas makes up 78% of the air that we breathe, it is true that you are continually exposed to this gas. The air that we breathe contains 78% nitrogen gas. It is a tasteless and odorless inert gas that is safe to use around food.

Because there is a lot of nitrogen in the atmosphere, the manufacture of nitrogen is quite affordable. This means that you will be able to save money on the cost of packing.

Because nitrogen lacks color, taste, and aroma, there is very little likelihood that it will change the scent or flavor of the coffee beans. However, there is still a risk that it may. In this way, you can ensure that the quality of your coffee goods is preserved.

Last but not least, the structural bond of nitrogen is very stable, making it an extremely unreactive element. This indicates that it is sufficiently stable and will not, under any circumstances, result in unintended responses.

When it comes to food safety, nitrogen is an ideal gas. It is also a good choice for those who are looking for an inexpensive way to improve the shelf life of their coffee.

Is There a Predetermined Amount of Oxygen That You Desire to Remain in the Bag?

Within a few days of being packaged, lab studies have indicated that oxygen levels that are higher than 5% might induce more oxidation, which can negatively impact the freshness and flavor of the coffee.

Nitrogen Flushing for Coffee

As a direct consequence of this, the minimum recommended for the amount of residual oxygen is no more than three percent.

Some roasters may advocate for lower levels in order to preserve the taste and freshness of their coffee for a longer period of time. This is particularly important for ground coffee, which is more susceptible to oxidation than whole bean coffee.

If a contract or private label roaster is able to obtain results that are lower than the minimal guideline, they will have access to a greater number of business options.

The necessary amount of residual oxygen must be consistently 2% or below almost all of the time.

Packaging Coffee Using Nitrogen Flushing

A vertical form and fill procedure is used to package the vast majority of coffee bags. An overhead hopper receives either coffee grounds or coffee beans for processing.

After the coffee beans have been roasted and cooled, they are placed in a sealed container, and nitrogen gas is pumped in.

Bags are loaded into the dispenser, where they undergo a flushing process with nitrogen that is safe for human consumption. During this time, the bag’s inside is filled with coffee from an above dispenser.

In the last step, the bag containing the coffee is flushed with nitrogen until it can be sealed, ensuring that the coffee will maintain its quality for many months.

How Long Does Coffee That Has Been Flushed with Nitrogen Remain Fresh?

Even after the “roasted on” date that is written on the bag, coffee that has been flushed with nitrogen and then sealed in a bag may maintain its freshness for up to six months.

The coffee should be used within seven to ten days after it has been opened, according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. And if you’re a huge fan of coffee like we are, then you probably won’t have any trouble with that at all!

Nitrogen Flushing for Coffee

Other Benefits of Nitrogen Flushing

Saves Time

The process of nitrogen flushing is much faster than that of vacuuming. This is because nitrogen has a lower density than air, so it can move through the coffee beans more quickly.

Improves Coffee Quality

When coffee is stored in an oxygen-free environment, it prevents the coffee beans from oxidizing. This process can result in a loss of flavor and aroma.

Improves Yield

There is less coffee waste when using nitrogen because the beans are not damaged during the packaging process. Also, the beans remain whole, which means there is less dust and more coffee in the bag.

Flexibility

You can package a variety of coffee products using nitrogen, including whole bean and ground coffee, as well as flavored coffee.

Coffee that has been nitrogen flushed will have a longer shelf life and taste fresher than those that have not undergone the process.

Takeaways

In a nutshell, there are no drawbacks to using nitrogen flushing for the packing of coffee, and doing so is completely risk-free.

Nitrogen flush packaging reduces oxidation and makes it possible for degassing to take place, both of which are desirable in the eyes of the vast majority of coffee makers.

Because nitrogen prevents quality loss due to oxidation, nitrogen flushing is also perfect for producers that like degassing their coffee goods over many days.

This is because nitrogen enables degassing to occur without the need for the product to be exposed to oxygen throughout the process.

If you need help with more information about nitrogen flushing, consult Spack Machine today!

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