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How to Evaporate Coffee Into a Powder

Updated July 19, 2017

Japanese American Scientist Satori Kato invented instant coffee back in the early 1900s, and the first mass-produced instant coffee company did business in England by 1909. By 1938, Nescafe invented freeze-drying technology and instant coffee became a staple convenience food. (See reference 2). Transforming water and coffee grounds into instant powder requires large industrial spray or freeze-drying facilities.

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  1. Make large amounts of coffee using extraction cells, large industrial machines that mix ground coffee and water. Extraction cells work much like percolating coffee machines, only on a much larger scale.

  2. Pump coffee into a tall tower for spray drying. Liquid coffee sprays through hot air, causing water to evaporate. The coffee residue that remains settles at the bottom of the tower as a fine powder. Adding hot water reconstitutes the coffee. Spray drying coffee results in a loss of flavour.

  3. Retain more coffee flavour by freeze drying coffee. Freeze thin layers of liquid coffee to --40 Fahrenheit. Break the frozen layer of coffee into small pieces and place in a vacuum. The airless environment lowers the boiling point of water so far that the water boils off, leaving a powder used for better quality instant coffees.

  4. Tip

    Both freeze-drying and spray-drying coffee results in loss of flavour. Some instant coffee mixes make up for this loss by adding other flavours.


    Mass production of instant coffee requires training and large-scale industrial equipment unavailable to most people.

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Things You'll Need

  • Coffee
  • Extraction cells
  • A spray drying tower
  • An industrial freeze drying facility

About the Author

Michael McGrath's experience as a Web content writer extends back to 1995, after receiving his Master of Arts in English at the University of Alberta. His articles on medical information, travel tips, parrot care and online gaming appear on

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