Issue No. 37

Small producers have a new ecological technology for coffee washing

September, 2018

Product and Innovation

Small producers have a new ecological technology for coffee washing

It washes coffee with less than 0.7 L of water per kg of dry parchment coffee. Ecomill® LH-300 preserves the features of the Ecomill® technology, developed by Cenicafé to reduce water use in wet processing.


The commitment to environmental sustainability in production of Café de Colombia is constant and innovative, developing ecological technologies that reduce the amount of water used in wet processing, as well as contamination of water sources.

In this line, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), through its scientific arm, the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé), presented a new technology for washing coffee on farms of small producers, called Ecomill® LH-300.

This technology allows wet processing with natural fermentation of coffee and its subsequent washing with up to 0.7 liters of water per kilogram of dry parchment coffee (dpc).

This new equipment joins the Ecomill® family, which in essence reduces water use in wet processing compared to other systems. In environmental terms, Ecomill® can produce mild coffee preventing 100% of pollution by reusing coffee wet processing wastewater.

The Ecomill® LH-300, designed for washing coffee lots (up to 1,000 kg/day), can be used on small farms and microlots on higher production farms. Its design features fewer components, and elements manufactured by the national industry were used to reduce the cost of the new technology without affecting its quality.

“With this new equipment we continue with the task of providing Colombian coffee farmers with technologies that enable them to keep the environmental balance of the crop. We like this Ecomill® a lot, as it exclusively targets small producers, who are the majority in the country,” said Roberto Vélez, the FNC CEO.

Vélez also highlighted that “with this result presented by Cenicafé, we are sure that small coffee growers will achieve efficient water use, as well as reduction of pollution of rivers and streams in the coffee regions.”

Ecomill® technology, a fruit of research by Cenicafé

The Ecomill® technology is a great contribution to efficient water use in coffee production, significantly reducing the amount of liters in wet processing.

Traditional washing systems such as the classifying canal (which uses between 20 and 25 L/kg of dpc), larger tanks with submersible pumps (6 to 9 L/kg of dpc), and tub-tanks with manual agitation (4 to 5 L/kg of dpc) are a clear example of how water saving in coffee wet processing has improved in Colombia thanks to Cenicafé research.

“The technology is already there for producers to know it in detail. The Extension Service has already begun the task of promoting this equipment throughout the country. Likewise, at the 2018 Cafés de Colombia Expo, to be held in Bogotá from October 3 to 6, we will show this new equipment so that attendees can interact with it,” Hernando Duque, the FNC Chief Technical Officer, said.

The Ecomill® LH-300 prototype was presented to the delegates of the last National Congress of Coffee Growers, held in Manizales in last December.

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