The Modern Coffee-Roasting Plant - 1921
Fig. 1 - The Vacuum-Packed Coffee Comes in This Way To the Second Story. An Outer Slip Cover Is Put by Hand on the 1-Pound Tins, Which Then Go in 30-Tin Containers. The Upper End of the Conveyor Is Shown in Fig. 3. The Spice Mill, December 1921. GGA Image ID # 1637c51a17
About a year ago this modern coffee-roasting plant was established at Buffalo, for marketing in the United States a specially packed coffee such as the Dalley Products Company, in Hamilton, Ontario, have been selling for several years.
The Canadian business is an old one and included originally various other food products which have all been given up as the special coffee business developed. H. C. Cosby, long in charge of coffee operations in Hamilton, is the manager of the Buffalo business also.
The particularly interesting feature of this Buffalo plant is the equipment for putting the coffee, after the most careful roasting and grinding, in special tin cans which are finally closed automatically inside a vacuum chamber to permit every remnant of air to be drawn out of the package before it is sealed.
Fig. 2 - The Vacuum-Sealing Machine, Opened for Inspection. The Filled Tins Are Automatically Carried in From the Conveyor on the Left and Are Closed and Sealed as They Circle Around the Vacuum Chamber. Fig. 3 Show the Delivery Point. The Spice Mill, December 1921. GGA Image ID # 1637d7ac2e
Packaging operations of this sort have been employed with great success for many other food products and are now making real headway in the roasted coffee field.
It was on the Pacific coast that vacuum-packed coffee was first introduced, particularly to meet the needs of an important market in Alaska, where very bad delivery conditions prevailed.
This method of packing proved so successful for Alaska trade that it seemed as if it might be worthwhile for customers nearer home, who frequently had to buy their preferred brand of coffee a long time after it had been roasted.
So, the original users of the vacuum-sealing process, for far-away trade, began to use it also for the general distribution of their high-grade goods, and other houses soon followed suit.
Fig. 3 - Delivery of the Tins From the Vacuum-Sealing Machine. the Large Suspended Bins Hold Granulated Coffee Which Is Carried by the Bucket Elevator up To the Fourth Story for Transfer To the Weighing Machines. The Spice Mill, December 1921. GGA Image ID # 1637e04a72
It is stated that the amount of coffee packed by vacuum-sealing machines in Pacific coast territory during the year 1920 amounted to nearly 24,000,000 pounds or a little more than 25 percent of all the coffee roasted in that section and that the proportion has increased to fully 35 percent at the present time.
Additional Eastern firms have now adopted the process, and its advantages are being studied by the trade in all parts of the country. Figures from the West Coast state that: :
- About 53 percent of the vacuum sealed tins used there are of 1 lb. size;
- 25 percent, 2 1/2 lb. size;
- 12 percent, 5 lb.;
- 6 percent, 2 lb.;
- 4 percent, 3 lb.;
- 1 percent, 1/2 lb.
There is surely nothing of more significant interest to the coffee trade than correct packing methods. The large increase in recent years of the wholesale distribution of package coffee is in line with the development which has been going on in connection with all sorts of food products.
Fig. 4 - The Weighing Machines, Supplied by the Inclined Spouts From Feed Bins in the Fourth Story, Fill the Tins Which Are Carried by the Conveyor To the Vacuum Sealer at the Left. The Spice Mill, December 1921. GGA Image ID # 1637e456c9
Success in this direction, as compared with selling coffee in bulk, depends a great deal on the attractiveness of the package idea in general which has been fostered by much advertising.
But complete success is vitally related to two important considerations; first, that the coffee should always be of uniformly high cup quality when put in the package; and, second, that the packing method should be able to maintain this quality until the goods reach the consumer.
The claim made for the vacuum—sealed metal package is that it preserves the original cup value of the coffee indefinitely. If this is true, it permits a complete argument to be made for package coffee as compared with coffee sold in bulk.
Fig. 5 - The Weighing-Machine Feed Bins at the Right Are Supplied by an Overhead Conveyor From the Elevator Between the Two Big Granulators. the Men Are Emptying a Can of Chaff Collected From the Cracked Coffee Before Final Granulation. Beyond Them Is the Roasting Equipment. The Spice Mill, December 1921. GGA Image ID # 1637ed36da
Even in the case of quick local distribution, with every “fresh roast" argument, it is difficult in these days to convince users that the quality of bulk goods is as likely to be as uniformly maintained as that of a brand which goes into consumer-size packages as part of its regular preparation for market.
A packaging method which will preserve coffee goodness perfectly seems hardly open to any objection except that of costing too much. And what “too much" may mean must depend in every case on the additional value, from a sales standpoint, which the package itself puts into the product.
Fig. 6 - At the Left, Green Coffee Is Being Dumped for the 20-Bag Mixer. At the Right a Batch Has Just Been Discharged From the Mixer Discharge Bin; And the Cooled Coffee Floor Hopper, at the Extreme Right, Spouts To an Elevator Feeding the Cracking Granulator. The Spice Mill, December 1921. GGA Image ID # 1638304fb6
The accompanying pictures and captions give a good idea of the Vacuum packing procedure in the Dalley plant and also show the convenient way in which all the preceding operations are connected, with ample bins for intermediate storage, so that the desired results can be obtained with the least running expense.
This Buffalo factory is a four-story brick warehouse on Addison Place between Bond and Lord. The roasters are, of course, located in the top story, also a 20-bag green coffee mixer and the coffee granulating machinery, together with complete auxiliary appliances partly extending into the lower floors.
"Plant of Dalley Products Company, Buffalo, NY: Producers of High-Grade Roasted Coffee--Distributed in Vacuum-Sealed Tins," in The Spice Mill: Devoted to the Interests of the Coffee Tea & Spice Trades, New York: The Spice Mill Publishing Company, Vol. XLIV, No. 12, December 1921, pp. 2164-2167.