Recent years have seen an increased industry-wide focus on coffee genetics, agronomy and post-harvest processing. Yet without responsible green coffee storage, any positive gains made in the field may be for naught.
Knowing this, Concord, Massachusetts-based company GrainPro, has been offering a range of products for the storage, handling and distribution of various dry agricultural commodities for more than 25 years.
Now GrainPro has announced an innovation of its own that the company is employing in its latest product, the GrainPro Cocoon Lite, an indoor/outdoor, long-term storage unit made from a “multilayer co-extruded Polyethylene” material that the company says weighs 80 percent less, is 250 times more airtight, and costs 40 percent less than the PVC of GrainPro’s original Cocoon products.
“We see this as a major breakthrough, and it’s matched with a companion innovation,” GrainPro President Phil Villers told Daily Coffee News at the company’s booth at the SCA Expo in Seattle last month. The referenced companion device is the EcoWise remote sensor, which producers or other parties throughout the chain can include inside a storage Cocoon to monitor temperature, humidity and oxygen level.
That data is transmitted to a receiver that plugs into a laptop or desktop computer up to 500 meters away, or further with a signal repeater. From there the information can be fed into the cloud by way of an accompanying web app, making stored green coffee status info available virtually anywhere, with optional notifications. Said Villers, “You not only know what the condition is, but you set the permissible level, and if it’s exceeded, it will alarm, so you can do something rather than make a massive discovery months later.”
GrainPro will continue marketing and selling both Cocoon types. While they do serve much the same purposes in the field, they differ in several important ways. The Cocoon Lite is currently only available in capacities of 5 to 20 metric tons, whereas the original Cocoon ranges from 5 to 320 metric tons. The original Cocoon has been tested and rated as having a 15-year useful life, whereas the Cocoon Lite, by virtue of its newness, is only rated as having a five-year useful life for now.
“We may, after five years from now, extend it, but we don’t actually know,” said Villers. “This is a fundamentally different material.”
GrainPro products are currently in use in agricultural settings in more than 118 countries throughout the world, according to the company. The Cocoon Lite represents the company’s most significant departure from its tried-and-true materials since its introduction of the original Cocoon. Villers, now in his 22nd year with the company, said, “I believe it to be the most important product development we’ve had since we started in 1992.”
The Cocoon Lite is currently undergoing further testing in the field, according to the company, and will be ready to begin shipping to buyers early this summer.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.