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Coffee Processing Industry: Urgent Need for Sustainable Management

By: , Posted on: August 13, 2017

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages all over the world and the second largest commodity in trading volume being only surpassed by oil. Currently, over 70 countries produce coffee. The global coffee production was estimated to be 145 million of 60 kg bags in 2015/2016 and the consumption rounded the 152.1 million. On the other hand, while billions of coffee cups are consumed worldwide each day, the bulk of the coffee plant biomass is considered to be waste.

Following the several steps of production, coffee industry generates huge amount of residues such as coffee silverskin, spent coffee grounds, coffee pulp, coffee husk, coffee cut-stems and wastewater. For instance, in Brazil, the production of coffee from 2008 to 2013 averaged 2.9 million tons, being generated about 1.4 million tons of wastes each year.

These residues constitute a source of severe contamination of water bodies and lands around production units, and a serious environmental problem for all the producing countries. The problem is nowadays getting even worst, taking into consideration the recent concerns that the global warming will effect severely coffee cultivation if not disappear it.

The current state-of-the-art handling of coffee processing residues include management practices that either degrade the substrate or lead to diminution of their pollution load without getting advance of high added-value ingredients like antioxidants. These practices have a negative ecologic and economic impact to the coffee industry, and cannot be continued within the sustainability and bioeconomy frame of the years to come.

The urgent need for sustainability within the coffee industry has turned the interest of research to investigate the handling of their by-products with another perspective, e.g. by adapting more profitable options. Therefore, modern coffee industries are driven to develop valorisation strategies that allow not only the recovery high added-value ingredients, but also their recycling through the generation of new products that find applications in diverse biotechnological fields, such as pharmaceutical, food or cosmetic ones.

Subsequently, there is a need for a new guide covering the latest developments in this particular direction.

Handbook of Coffee Processing By-Products: Sustainable Applications indicates the alternative sustainable solutions of upgrading coffee processing residues as well as denoting their industrial potential as a source for the recovery of bioactive compounds and their reutilization in the above noted sectors.

The book fills the existing gap in the current literature by providing a reference for all the involved partners activated in the field, trying to optimize the performance of coffee processing industries and reduce their environmental impact. This is conducted by denoting advantages, disadvantages and real potentiality of relevant processes, as well as highlighting success stories that are already applied in some countries. The ultimate goal is to support the scientific community, professionals and producers that aspire to develop real, high scale commercial applications.

The book consists of 12 Chapters. Chapter 1 discusses the state of the art in the field of coffee processing by-products by describing the steps involved in coffee processing from the field to the cup, the respective generation of by-products along the chain and their characteristics. In addition, it provides an overview of the methods proposed for the sustainable management of these by-products as well as legislative frameworks and policy recommendations. Chapter 2 explores the healthy components (e.g. caffeine, chlorogenic acids, trigonelline, and diterpenes) of coffee and coffee processing by-products, gives some background on antioxidants (what they are and how to study them) and how these relate to health.

Chapter 3 deals with the industrial valorization of relevant residues within the integrated concept of biorefinery, taking into account production scale, design, technical and economic issues. Chapter 4 explores the extraction and formulation of bioactive compounds from coffee processing by-products using conventional extraction techniques and approaches. An overview of patented recovery methodologies and potential applications resulting from the use of the recovered bioactives is provided, too. Chapter 5 discusses the recovery of target compounds using emerging technologies, e.g. supercritical fluids, subcritical water, ultrasound and microwave assisted extraction.


Access chapter 4, Extraction and formulation of bioactive compounds for free.


Rest chapters deal with the sustainable applications of recovered ingredients in different sectors. In particular, Chapter 6 summarizes applications of coffee by-products in food products due to their biological, nutritional and technological functions. Chapter 7 concentrates the potential applications of bioactive compounds from coffee processing by-products as active ingredients for skin care products. Their potential UV protective action, emollient capacity, anti-wrinkle and antimicrobial activity is critically reviewed and discussed.

Chapters 8 and 9 deal with the biotechnological (e.g. as a substrate for the cultivation of microorganisms) and environmental (e.g. generation of activated carbons) applications of coffee processing by-products, respectively. Chapter 10 explores the potentiality of utilizing exhausted coffee residues as a precursor for the production of biochar and their application for agricultural purposes.

Chapter 11 describes the possibilities of using coffee processing by-products for energy applications (e.g. biofuels, biodiesel and bioethanol). In particular, the recovery of energy from biomass through thermochemical processes (e.g. gasification, combustion, hydrothermal treatment) and biochemical processes is presented. Finally, Chapter 12 provides an overview of the main current applications of spent coffee grounds and discusses the results obtained during their processing through vermicomposting on a pilot scale.

Conclusively, the book provides a handbook for agricultural, chemical and environmental engineers as well as food scientists and technologists who work in the coffee processing industry and are seeking to improve their by-products management by actively utilizing them in effective applications. It addresses professionals, researchers, specialists and new product developers working in the edge of food and environmental sectors. It could be used as textbook for ancillary reading in graduates and post-graduate level, and multi-discipline courses dealing with agricultural science, food technology, environmental, bioresource, and chemical engineering. To this line, it could become a target reference for libraries and Institutes dealing with coffee production all around the world (e.g. Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, USA, etc).

charis galanakis

About the author:

Charis M. Galanakis is an interdisciplinary scientist with a fast-expanding work that balances between food and environment, industry, and academia. His research targets mainly the separation and recovery of functional macro- and micromolecules from different food by-products, as well as their implementation as additives in food and other products. He is the research and innovation director of Galanakis Laboratories (Chania, Greece) and the coordinator of Food Waste Recovery Group of ISEKI Food Association (Vienna, Austria). He serves as an editorial board member and subject editor of Food and Bioproducts Processing and Food Research International, and he has edited 6 books from Academic Press: Food Waste Recovery: Processing Technologies and Industrial Techniques (2015), Innovation Strategies in the Food Industry: Tools for implementation (2016) and Nutraceutical and Functional Food Components: Effects of Innovative Processing Techniques (2017), Olive Mill Waste: Recent advances for the Sustainable Management (2017), Handbook of Grape Processing By-Products: Sustainable Solutions (2017) and Handbook of Coffee Processing By-Products: Sustainable Applications (2017).

See his full portfolio of books here.

Follow Dr. Galanakis via Twitter – @CharisGalanakis, LinkedIn or ResearchGate.

Join the Food Waste Recovery Group on LinkedIn or the Food Waste Recovery Page on Facebook.

Charis’ latest books are available to order on the www.elsevier.com. Use discount code STC317 at checkout and save up to 30% on your very own copy!

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Food Science & Nutrition

The field of food science is highly interdisciplinary, spanning areas of chemistry, engineering, biology, and many more. Researchers in these areas achieve fundamental advances in our understanding of agriculture, nutrition, and food-borne illness, and develop new technologies, like food processing methods and packaging material. Against a backdrop of global issues of food supply and regulation, this important work is supported by Elsevier’s catalog of books, eBooks, and journals in food science, considered essential resources for students, instructors, and health professionals worldwide. Learn more about our Food Science and Nutrition books here.

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