Coffee plays an important role in generating foreign exchange in Ethiopia’s national economy. With a 26% annual market share of all processed coffee for national exports, CPWE is the largest coffee processing plant in Ethiopia, supporting more than 100 exporters each year. The company maintains a rich relationship with food processing expert Bühler, during which time he has used Sortex Sorter exclusively in all of his coffee processing operations.
Subsequently, the company has been able to overcome its four biggest hurdles in coffee processing: product quality, export standards operational efficiency and stability.
Established in 1994, the Coffee Processing and Warehouse Enterprise (CPWE) processes and stores export-standard, washed and natural Arabica coffee beans grown all around Ethiopia. The Enterprise operates from a 50,683 square meter coffee processing plant located in the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa, with around 400 permanent and contract employees.
Three export coffee processing lines are able to collectively process 15 metric tons of coffee per hour. The company also boasts a storage capacity of up to 30,000 tons and processes approximately 50,000 tons of Arabica coffee every year.
Improving product quality and operational efficiency
Most processing plants across Ethiopia use handpicking as a primary means of sorting coffee beans. Getaw Yalew, General Manager at CPWE says, “Before investing in the Sortex machines, we relied heavily on handpicking and the quality control of our coffee was not great. The efficiency was poor, output per hour was low and costs were high.”
In order to ensure a superior and more consistent quality of coffee, the company turned to Bühler. With a portfolio of solutions responsible for processing around 75% of all Arabica beans exported from Ethiopia each year, Bühler was able to meet CPWE’s sorting requirements.
Today, across each of its three lines, CPWE has two Sortex color sorters, running back-to-back at the last stage before packing.
The SORTEX Z+ Bichro machines, the SORTEX A ColorVision and the SORTEX B MultiVision machines have all been installed for primary sorting as well as re-sorting, for an added layer of quality assurance.
“Since investing in the Sortex machines, we have reduced our dependency on handpicking,” Yalew states. As a result, the company has noticed a vast improvement in the quality of their coffee beans, with easier removal of sour, vinegar, immature and discolored beans, in addition to insect damaged and broca beans. “The Sortex color sorters really do provide an unmatched product quality,” Yalew affirms.
However, most significantly, CPWE has seen a huge improvement in efficiency, “So much time has been saved by using our Sortex machines. What would have taken five minutes now takes just two minutes to handpick,” Yalew says. “Overall our sorting efficiency, up to and including the final bagging stage, has increased by 75%. For us, that is outstanding!” Find more…