Cafe Solar® Factories

100% Renewable Energy Carbon Neutral Coffee Processing

Cafe Solar® Factories are introducing the first commercial method of clean, carbon neutral coffee processing that uses advanced solar energy technology to dry green coffee beans in preparation for export. Solar dried coffee is the cleanest, most efficient, and most consistent way to dry commercial-sized batches of green coffee today. It enables producers to process large quantities of green coffee in way that is environmentally friendly and adds quality to the end product.

Solar panels that power the carbon neutral coffee processing.
Cafe Solar® solar-powered mechanical coffee dryer.

Solar Dried Coffee vs. Sun Dried Coffee

Coffee growers have always used solar energy to dry coffee via the age-old tradition of “sun-drying” the green beans on a cement patio, which is arguably the most environmentally friendly option for drying coffee; however, this highly manual method comes with a number of costs and limitations.

Sun Dried Coffee: Spreading the coffee beans out to dry on a large cement patio is the sun-drying tradition, but it requires a lot of time, energy, and space. Sun dried coffee must be done in relatively small batches and takes 5-15 days for the beans to dry properly, depending on cloud cover and rain. Since sun dried coffee stays moist for up to 2 weeks, the risk of mold development is much greater. The beans must be carefully managed and turned using rakes, otherwise they will not dry uniformly and this leads to defects in the resulting coffee.

Solar Dried Coffee: Solar dried coffee, on the other hand, harvests the sun’s energy with solar panels and uses that clean energy to power a high-efficiency mechanical dryer; which works like a convection oven. In this way, solar dried coffee is free from the costs and limitations associated with the sun-drying method:

  • Solar dried coffee is processed in commercial-sized batches within 24 hours.
(During cloudy periods and nighttime operation, solar energy is substituted with biomass fuel made from coffee husks).
  • The dryer is calibrated to dry the beans under ideal times and temperatures, in order to eliminate risk of mold and loss of volatile oils.
  • The heat/temperature is always consistent and the beans are constantly moving, so the drying process and resulting coffee is extremely precise and uniform.