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Brambati is more than just hot air

From the March 2015 issue.

Fabrizio Brambati tells GCR Magazine about how the Italian plant manufacturer builds machines that do more than just roast coffee beans.

At its best, coffee and the industry that is built around it combines the richness of tradition with the excitement and innovation of modern technology.

As a family business that has been manufacturing industrial food machinery for the past 70 years, Brambati is familiar with the challenges – and rewards – associated with combining these two characteristics.

The Italian machinery manufacturer has watched the global coffee industry grow in reach and popularity over the past few decades, and has learned a thing or two about the need for constant innovation along the way.

With the pursuit for perfection in coffee around the world now at unprecedented levels, automation and flexibility have been the main themes underpinning the evolution of technology in this sector, as Fabrizio Brambati explains.

“Over the years we have had an enormous and continuous evolution in roasting profiles,” Brambati says. “They have changed from a manual roast controlled by a single operator to a highly automated procedure with a lot of flexibility and repeatability over the entire process in each of the different phases.”

Brambati’s team, which has its origins close to the northern Italian city of Milan, has moved with the times, making machines that give operators a high degree of control over almost every function.

“Our roasters provide the possibility to change the speed of every motor in a variety of combinations, as well as precise management of air flow which allows us to roast whether by conduction or convection so that we can satisfy the wide variety of demands that world markets require,” he says.

While Brambati’s roots are firmly set in the home of espresso culture, Italy, the worldwide nature of the modern coffee industry – and the regional variations in taste and style that it brings – means the company has to accommodate a large variety of requests for the capabilities of their roasters.

According to Brambati, this means working with clients who require a broad range of roasting profiles and types of coffee, each seeking a different result from their roast.

“Clients today are always searching for more so that they can obtain the most from their coffee, both in terms of quality and aromas, creating special profiles for every origin.”

This level of customisation is only achievable through the use of sophisticated technology, the likes of which was unimaginable just a couple of decades ago. As the technology has improved, so too has the machines’ energy efficiency, Brambati says.

“The modulation of the burner heat output, the automatic adjustment of the volume of air circulating, timing of individual steps, and modulating control valves for air are managed by a focused software that ensures perfect repeatability, consistency and quality control during roasting,” he says. “Besides, having the possibility to re-circulate the hot air, it is possible to have savings in terms of energy.”

Their range of roasters includes machines capable of roasting 5 kilograms of beans per batch at the bottom end, up to 600 kilograms per batch for their largest machine.

Recent years have also seen a much greater understanding of the role of the roasting  process for the following stages of grinding and degassing. Now it is possible to tailor the degassing of the beans according to the origin of the coffee, its roast profile and the particle size of the desired grind.

“It is possible to create an ideal environment for the degassing process not only due to the particle size but also the quality of the coffee and the method of roasting used,” Brambati says.

Brambati does not just make roasters, however. The company also manufactures machinery to take the coffee right through the process from green bean to ground product on an industrial scale. This includes equipment to clean, store and weigh the green beans, then load them in for roasting, followed by destoning and weighing again, then blending, or grinding through to storage and packaging.

With such a complete offer for roasters, it is hardly surprising that Brambati has a strong interest from many different segments of the coffee industry. As well as their roasters, Brambati has long been involved in the process for the manufacturing of coffee capsules that, in light of the rise and rise of single serve coffee among consumers around the world, has become an increasingly important part of the company’s business. “Brambati was involved in the introduction of plants for the production of coffee capsules from the beginning,” Brambati says.

This side of the business has seen Brambati develop adequate systems for coffee capsule production, from the roasting profile, catering to a variety of coffee qualities. The company, also thanks to its own mills, allows the roaster to customise the grind in order to get the best result out of their individual bean or blend, providing all kinds of grinder in terms of granulometry and dust control, as well as a customised system of transport and storage in an atmospherically controlled environment so that the specific aromatic qualities can be maintained.

“Our mills have developed over the years in terms of the level of control and management of the product with the goal of keeping consistency of the grain size and to avoid the increase in temperature during the grinding process,” Brambati says. “These combined functions along with electronic control allow real time monitoring so that the processing conditions are always constant regardless of the number of hours they are operating for.”

Once again, Brambati says, the most important aspect of this process is ensuring that the system is tailored at each stage to ensure that the individual requirements of each client are met.

“As our tools are very flexible, it is possible to meet everyone’s requirements. [Our equipment] allows you to set and memorise an infinite variety of profiles.” GCR

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