A Drink or beverage, is a liquid which isspecifically prepared for human consumption.In addition to fulfilling a basic humanneed, beverages form part ofthe culture of human society. Its classificationincludes water, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, fruit juice, hotbeverages, etc.
Soft drinks are enormously popular beverages consisting primarily of carbonated water, sugar, andflavorings. Nearly 200 nations enjoy the sweet, sparkling soda with an annual consumption ofmore than 34 billion gallons. The roots of soft drinks extend to ancient times from the twothousand years old Greeks and Romans to the Europeans and Americans of the 18th century. Thefirst imitation mineral water was patented in 1809 and was called "soda water“ and consisted ofwater and sodium bicarbonate mixed with acid to add effervescence.Raw Materials:Carbonated water constitutes up to 94% of a soft drink. Carbon dioxide adds that special sparkleand bite to the beverage and also acts as a mild preservative. Carbon dioxide is an uniquelysuitable gas for soft drinks because it is inert, non-toxic, and relatively inexpensive and easy toliquefy.Sugar is the second main ingredient, which makes up 7-12% of a soft drink. Used in either dry orliquid form, sugar adds sweetness and body to the beverage, enhancing the "mouth-feel," animportant component for consumer enjoyment of a soft drink. Sugar also balances flavors andacids.The overall flavor of a soft drink depends on an intricate balance of sweetness, tartness, andacidity (pH). Acids add sharpness to the background taste and enhance the thirst-quenchingexperience by stimulating saliva flow. The most common acid in soft drinks is citric acid, which hasa lemony flavor. Acids also reduce pH levels, mildly preserving the beverage.
Very small quantities of additives enhance taste, mouth-feel, aroma, and appearance of thebeverage. Flavorings may be natural, natural identical (chemically synthesized imitations), orartificial (chemically unrelated to natural flavors). Emulsions are added to soft drinks primarily toenhance "eye appeal" by serving as clouding agents.Impurities in the water are removed through a process of coagulation, filtration, and chlorination.Coagulation involves mixing floc into the water to absorb suspended particles. The water is thenpoured through a sand filter to remove fine particles of Roc. To sterilize the water, small amounts ofchlorine are added to the water and filtered out.
Clarifying the waterFiltering, Sterilizing and Dechlorinating Mixing the ingredients Carbonating the beverage Filling, bottling and packaging
Clarifying the water: The quality of water is crucial to the success of a soft drink.Impurities, such as suspended particles, organic matter, and bacteria, may degrade tasteand color. They are generally removed through the traditional process of a series ofcoagulation, filtration, and chlorination. Coagulation involves mixing a gelatinousprecipitate, or floc (ferric sulphate or aluminum sulphate), into the water. The flocabsorbs suspended particles, making them larger and more easily trapped by filters.During the clarification process, alkalinity must be adjusted with an addition of lime toreach the desired pH level.Filtering, sterilizing, and dechlorinating the water: The clarified water is poured througha sand filter to remove fine particles of floc. The water passes through a layer of sand andcourser beds of gravel to capture the particles.Sterilization is necessary to destroy bacteria and organic compounds that might spoil thewaters taste or color. The water is pumped into a storage tank and is dosed with a smallamount of free chlorine. The chlorinated water remains in the storage tank for about twohours until the reaction is complete.Next, an activated carbon filter dechlorinates the water and removes residual organicmatter, much like the sand filter. A vacuum pump de-aerates the water before it passesinto a dosing station.
Mixing the ingredients: The dissolved sugar and flavor concentrates are pumped into thedosing station in a predetermined sequence according to their compatibility. Theingredients are conveyed into batch tanks where they are carefully mixed; too muchagitation can cause unwanted aeration. The syrup may be sterilized while in thetanks, using ultraviolet radiation or flash pasteurization, which involves quickly heating andcooling the mixture. Fruit based syrups generally must be pasteurized.The water and syrup are carefully combined by sophisticated machines, calledproportioners, which regulate the flow rates and ratios of the liquids. The vessels arepressurized with carbon dioxide to prevent aeration of the mixture.
Carbonating the beverage: The temperature of the liquid must be carefully controlledsince carbon dioxide solubility increases as the liquid temperature decreases. Manycarbonators are equipped with their own cooling systems. Fruit drinks require far lesscarbonation than mixer drinks, such as tonics, which are meant to be diluted withother liquids. The beverage is slightly over-pressured with carbon dioxide to facilitatethe movement into storage tanks and ultimately to the filler machine.Filling and packaging: The finished product is transferred into bottles or cans atextremely high flow rates. The containers are immediately sealed with pressure-resistant closures, either tinplate or steel crowns with corrugated edges, twist offs, orpull tabs.Because soft drinks are generally cooled during the manufacturing process, they mustbe brought to room temperature before labeling to prevent condensation from ruiningthe labels. This is usually achieved by spraying the containers with warm water anddrying them. Labels are then affixed to bottles to provide information about thebrand, ingredients, shelf life, and safe use of the product. Most labels are madeof paper though some are made of a plastic film. Cans are generally pre-printed withproduct information before the filling stage.Finally, containers are packed into cartons or trays which are then shipped in largerpallets or crates to distributors.
Soft drink manufacturers adhere to strict water quality standards for allowable dissolvedsolids, alkalinity, chlorides, sulfates, iron, and aluminum. Not only is it in the interest ofpublic health, but clean water also facilitates the production process and maintainsconsistency in flavor, color, and body. Microbiological and other testing occur regularly.If soft drinks are produced with low-quality sugar, particles in the beverage will spoilit, creating floc. To prevent such spoilage, sugar must be carefully handled indry, sanitized environments.It is crucial for soft drink manufacturers to inspect raw materials before they are mixedwith other ingredients, because preservatives may not kill all bacteria. Alltanks, pumps, and containers are thoroughly sterilized and continuously monitored.Cans, made of aluminum alloy or tin-coated low-carbon steel, are lacquered internallyto seal the metal and prevent corrosion from contact with the beverage. Soft drinkmanufacturers also recommend specific storage conditions to retailers to insure that thebeverages do not spoil. The shelf life of soft drinks is generally at least one year.