Energy reduction in instant coffee manufacturing (RICE)

Lead University: University of Birmingham

Professor Serafim Bakalis, Professor Peter Fryer, Dr Ourania Gouseti, Dr Estefania Lopez-Quiroga, Rui Wang, Hafizah Malik

Collaboration: JDE, Innovate UK



Freeze-drying of concentrated coffee products has the potential to reduce energy consumption during manufacturing, as the water (/ice/water vapour) phase changes involved in freezing and vacuum drying – i.e. crystallisation, sublimation, water vaporisation and condensation – demand most of the energy of the process. Therefore, reducing the amount of water to process will reduce the energy needs too.

Aims and objectives

To develop fundamental understanding of the impact of processing on the formation of the microstructure of freeze-dried coffee when using higher solid concentrations.


Combine pilot scale experimentation with the development of fundamental understanding to design new manufacturing processes that will save energy and reduce environmental impact.


  • Method developed to grow ice crystal under microscope for concentrations >40% solids.
  • Models for foaming crystallisation and vacuum drying developed and validated.
  • Model-based scale-up rules established for pilot plant operation (50%,60%,65% w/w).
  • Product microstructures identified to enhance solubilisation.
  • Novel freeze-dried coffee product created and UK patent filed.

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