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Conveyors for Coffee and Tea

January 6, 2022

In May, UniTrak will be exhibiting at the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference and Exhibition in Rosemont, IL, May 3-5, 2016. In advance of the show, our Leadership Blog will feature a series of articles on topics that will be of interest to show attendees. This week’s blog on conveyors for coffee and tea is the sixth in our International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference and Exhibition blog series.

North Americans love their coffees and teas! The USA represents the world’s largest market for coffee at USD$30 billion. In the USA, tea consumption is also on the rise – the USA market for tea has more than quadrupled during the past twenty-plus years—from just under USD$2 billion in 1990 to just over USD$10 billion in 2013—according to the US Tea Association.

In Canada, per capita consumption of coffee is among the highest in the world, and tea consumption is forecast to jump 40 percent by 2020, according to a report commissioned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. In Mexico, coffee consumption also continues to rise – in the mid 1990’s, Mexico’s national consumption was estimated at about 78 million kilograms of coffee, and by 2005 that figure had risen to about 120 million kilograms, according to figures from the International Coffee Organization and the Mexican Coffee Producing Association (Amecafé).

In Mexico, coffee consumption has been driven by promotions and the growing number of coffee shops. Soluble coffee accounts for about 68 per cent of total consumption, with ground coffee consumption having the second largest share. While official figures are hard to come by, the Mexican Coffee Producing Association (Amecafé ) revised its estimates of coffee usage in 2014-15 upwards to 156 million kilograms of product. Amecafé also highlights that about 40 percent of Mexican coffee production is marketed for local consumption, and the remaining 60 percent is for export purposes.

However, while the overall consumption of coffee and tea is increasing, consumer trends are shifting. A majority of consumers still buy traditional processed coffee and tea blends, but consumer tastes are shifting more towards the quality, sustainability and unique flavours often associated with specialty coffees and teas. They’re also increasingly seeking the higher convenience and customized product experience that is achievable through the use of home brewing technologies and pods.

These trends highlight some of the application issues associated with coffee and tea production. While single-origin ground coffee and leaved teas remain highly popular with consumers, producers are under increasing pressure to serve the growing markets for blended and flavoured products, as well as consumers’ growing preferences for newer single-serve package formats such as pods or capsules.


Conveying coffee and tea is not without its challenges. These challenges arise from the properties and characteristics inherent in the various coffee and tea products. Key challenges include addressing the risk of product breakage and degradation, ensuring a consistent flow of powdered materials, controlling equipment wear and tear resulting from material abrasion, and enabling fast equipment cleaning and turnaround when flavoured products are being produced.

Please download our Conveyors for Coffee and Tea Chart PDF to see a summary of the key coffee and tea materials, the conveying challenges associated with each, and the recommended UniTrak equipment solutions. Here is a snippet below:

t is also important to consider issues relating to the production process itself when selecting conveyors for coffee and tea applications. For example, if processing whole roasted coffee beans, will the beans be sent on to a grinder for further processing or will they be sent directly to the packaging line for pack-out as roasted beans? The answer to this question will, of course, be valuable for determining how the conveyor will need to be adapted to effectively interface with either the grinder or the packaging line.


For continuous processing operations, TipTrakTM bucket conveyors and Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors are the preferred equipment choices. UniTrak has installed TipTrakTM units to successfully service applications involving soluble coffee, green coffee beans, ground coffee, whole roasted beans, and tea. In addition, Powderflight aeromechanicals are also being used to service applications involving ground coffee, whole roasted bean and tea.

Both TipTrakTM and Powderflight conveyors can be outfitted with a range of options to address issues relating to product dusting, abrasion, and cleaning. For further information on these options, please contact our sales office directly.

For intermittent or batch processing operations, UniFlex flexible screw conveyors are an economical and reliable equipment choice. UniFlex flexible screw conveyors have been installed to service applications involving ground coffee.

For operations which are receiving their coffee and tea materials in large bags or Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC), UniTrak’s Bagstander bulk bag unloader can help with the handling and discharging of product from the bags. UniTrak Bagstanders ensure zero leakage and safety for operators during any unloading operation, and a factory-installed vibrator can help ensure complete, waste-free emptying.

If you require a conveyor for coffee and tea, UniTrak is your preferred equipment partner. For over 45 years, we have helped customers the world over solve their toughest bulk material conveying challenges. To find out how UniTrak equipment can address your application needs, please visit us at the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference and Exhibition, booth 2425, or contact our sales department directly.

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UniTrak Corporation Limited

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