Valorisation of the Residues of Coffee Agro-industry: Perspectives and Limitations

M.C. Echeverria1, M. Nuti2, *
1 Universitad Tecnica del Norte, Av. 17 de Julio 5-21 y General José Maria Cordova, Ibarra, Ecuador
2 Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE), University of Pisa, via del Borghetto 80 – 56124 Pisa, Italy

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© Echeverria and Nuti; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE), University of Pisa, via del Borghetto 80, 56124 Pisa, Italy; Tel: +39 050 2216642; E-mails:;


Over ten million tonnes of solid residues are generated yearly from coffee agro-industry worldwide, along with larger amounts of wastewaters and cultivation residues. Both wastewaters and solid residues, such as defective coffee beans and spent coffee grounds, along with coffee husks (pulp and mucilage) that constitute around 60% of the wet weight of the fresh fruit, represent a relevant source of pollution and environmental threat, particularly from the widely adopted wet processing of coffee berries. Several attempts have been done to re-use the coffee processing solid residues, which include direct use as fuel in farms, animal feed, fermentation studies, adsorption studies, biodiesel production, briquetting, pelletizing, tannin extraction and production of specialty commodities. For the re-use of wastewaters, biogas production and direct delivery on plantations have been proposed or adopted, along with the treatment through infiltration, irrigation or (anaerobic) lagooning, reed bed and aerobic lagooning. In this study, the possible alternatives for the re-use and valorisation of the coffee processing and plantation are critically reviewed, taking into account the experiences with other agro-industrial residues and wastewaters, in the frame of a sustainable agro-industrial development.

Keywords: Coffee processing, Solid residues, Wastewaters, Residue valorisation, Sustainable development.