UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, which roasts and supplies coffee to the retail and foodservice markets, said it had boosted its roasting capacity by 50% to 12,000t a year through the move.
That had cemented its position as the UK’s largest roaster of coffee by volume, it claimed. The major changes went live on April 1.
Central to the cash outlay is the modernisation of silos, upgrades to its software and green bean transportation systems and the installation of a Probat Neptune 1500 Drum roaster.
The German manufactured roaster, which is capable of roasting up to 1,500kg of green beans an hour, features energy-saving, health and safety and roasting temperature systems, said UCC Coffee.
“The decision to invest with Probat is the result of extensive research into what equipment would deliver for our business,” said Rahul Ghosh, director of roastery operations, UCC Coffee. “The manufacturer is exceptionally successful in the market, having operated in it for 100 years and is responsible for roasting six in 10 cups of coffee consumed worldwide.
“It stood out from other roaster manufacturers thanks to the unrivalled roasting quality, which produces an excellent, consistent roast and the highest aroma development in each batch.”
Elaine Higginson, md, UCC Coffee, said the coffee market continued to develop swiftly and the investment would enable it to keep pace with increased demand from its customers.
‘Investing in people’
“We’re continually investing in our people,” she added. “This has recently led to the creation of a dedicated coffee trainer team and the expansion of our specialist barista and coffee development teams at Dartford.” That team included two licensed coffee quality graders, she said.
UCC Coffee UK & Ireland roasts own-label, bespoke blend and brands for a wide range of leading operators in the foodservice, retail and independent channels. It also roasts the popular Lyons’ Coffee and ThreeSixty° coffee brands. Its Dartford site, which employs 85 people, is supported by its specialist site in Corby, which roasts fresh artisan coffee using a Diedrich drum roaster.
The company in its present form was created through the merger of UK firms First Choice Coffee and retail own-label player Gala Coffee in 2010 and is part of the United Coffee European Group. Its UK headquarters is in Milton Keynes.
In 2012, United Coffee Group was acquired by UCC Holdings Co, creating one of the top five biggest independent coffee companies in the world. Following the acquisition, United Coffee retained its identity before rebranding as UCC Coffee UK & Ireland in 2014.
UCC is Japan’s largest producer of coffee and is responsible for £2bn annual sales turnover globally, 7,300 employees and 28 roasteries worldwide.