Cane sugar is most produced sugar type in the world. It has been known since ancient era which the exact date of earliest cane sugar production cannot be identified. However, it is agreed that the earliest production has occurred in South Asia region.
The cane itself is an indigenous plant in South and Southeast Asia. Early processing of sugarcane was done traditionally in a small batch. First cane stalk is crushed and milled to extract its juice. After that, the juice is evaporated and crystallized. The result is not stable in quality and quantity.
During industrial awaken era, sugar processing was also improved. The continuous process and basic refining method are invented during this era. Improving production and quality capability of sugar producer. Then, sugar processing step is becoming state-of-the-art.
The first step of cane sugar processing is:
Cane crushing and milling: Harvested cane (expected to be clean from its leaves) entering the shredder to be shredded into smaller part. During this step, it is expected that the cane stalk is not pressed which may create juice loss. After that, the cane enters mills. Nowadays, five stages mill is commonly used. In the third stage, water is usually added to improve the extraction process. This is called as imbibition. By this imbibition, it is expected that the juice is extracted completely from the stalk (which is then called as bagasse). Extracted juice is collected underneath the mills and pumped into a temporary tank. It shall not stay in the tank for a long time as the sugar content may decrease. Bagasse contamination to the juice shall also be minimized to avoid high load in next clarification process. Meanwhile, bagasse is transferred to a drier to remove the moisture. The bagasse might be directly burnt as fuel to generate steam and electricity and might be processed as a paper raw source.
From the above step, fresh cane juice is obtained. The juice shall undergo clarification process before it can be consumed safely.