The Technology Behind The Taste: Exploring Different Types of Liquorice

12 April 2024

Author: Richard Holt, Technical Sales / Process Engineer


Liquorice is a starch based gel – made from biscuit flour mixed with water, granulated sugar and glucose, with added flavour & colours. Before any colour or flavour are added it’s a plain off-white homogenous paste.

It is believed the first liquorice sweet was produced in 1614 by Sir George Savile, named the ‘Pontefract Cakes.’ The Dunhill company are credited with the development of liquorice as confectionery by adding sugar into the design in 1760. 

Since 1835 BCH have been at the forefront of mass liquorice production. Using our batch cooked liquorice and sheet extruder machines many designs were possible. Over the past 190 years we have developed our processes which are used worldwide by our customers to create various types of liquorice with different colourings, flavours and shapes to cater to every sweet tooth.

Traditional Black Liquorice

When most people think of liquorice they think of the classic, aniseed taste of traditional black liquorice. This original liquorice flavour is similar to marmite in its acquired taste, where you either love it or hate it. 

Made from liquorice root extract, the sweet has been developed since its introduction into the market in the 1800s into a wide variety of shapes and sizes from cylinders, ropes and twists. Despite its acquired taste, this sweet remains a staple in the confectionery market.

Red Liquorice

Despite its popularity and as the name would suggest, red liquorice does not contain any liquorice plant root. Due to the similarity in shapes and texture, red liquorice is often grouped together within the liquorice family. 

Using fruit flavourings such as strawberry or raspberry, red liquorice is often a nicer option for anyone preferring a sweeter liquorice. 

Multi Colour Multi Flavour

Fairly new to the world of liquorice, a modern twist on the traditional treat is multi colour, multi flavour liquorice. Usually found in twisted ropes or straps, and available with a sour coating. Not only is this visually appealing, but extra tasty as it forms an exciting array of colours and flavours. 

In 2023 BCH unveiled the ‘6 Colour 6 Flavour Dynamic Mixing System (DMS), an extruder capable of providing 6 different colours and 6 different flavours to liquorice products.

The new system allows manufacturers to achieve a homogenous mix of colours and flavours whilst reducing the operating pressure, resulting in higher throughputs and lower energy consumption.

Co-Extruded Liquorice

Often used when producing fruit flavoured liquorice cables, sugar paste can add an extra dimension to this popular confection. The range of combinations allows for a wide range of flexibility in the manufacturing of liquorice products. 

BCH offer the option of co-extruded liquorice in the form of liquorice and sugar paste, liquorice and pectin gel and liquorice and compound chocolate. 

Liquorice Allsort Sandwiches

Famously known as ‘liquorice all sorts’ BCH specialise in the production of the ‘sandwich’ version of this yummy treat. Blending the flavours of black liquorice with strawberry, chocolate, lemon and many more flavours to create these bite sized sweets, this is perfect to get the best of both worlds in one mouthful. 

Flavours can also be played around with to include sugar paste and fruit flavoured fillings for a different twist on the traditional version of this sweet.

BCH Liquorice Machinery:

BCH has a range of machines designed to make the liquorice making process easier, all designed with the end product in mind. 


Often referred to as a ‘pre-mix system’ this machine is perfect for the initial mixing of ingredients before they move onto the next stage of the confectionery line. 

Z Blade Mixer

Used in the production of sugar paste, a BCH Z-Blade Mixer is manufactured from 50kg for smaller lines to 200kg batch size. The mixers are equipped with direct driven inverter speed control.


BCH’s Viscotator offers maximum process versatility with the ability to continuously cook or cool of liquorice products on the scraped surface heat exchanger. A spiral flow water jacket allows for the cooling of the product before transferring onto the conveyor belt. 

Extrusion & Forming

Primarily designed to handle liquorice a BCH extruder. The latest generation of BCH extrusion systems allow the user to clean in place (CIP) at high velocity and temperature ensuring rapid, hygienic product change overs.

Flow Divider

The BCH flow divider easily attaches onto our extruder range and provides uniform weight control of product streams. Different die plates can be fitted to the flow divider to allow for different shapes and sizes of liquorice product to be outputted.

Cooling Tunnels

Designed for efficient cooling and conditioning of liquorice products, our cooling tunnels are available in a range of lengths and belt widths to suit process requirements. A hygienic design allows for ease of access while simplifying the cleaning process for optimal operational standards. 

Glazing & Sanding

Our glazing and sanding units are usually located between the cooling tunnel and guillotine and provides an enclosed section to moisten the product surface to ensure the sugar sticks to the liquorice. 


BCH guillotines provide a perfect cut to allow for equal lengths in the production of cables, ropes or smaller bite sized pieces of liquorice. Adaptability is a big theme for the BCH guillotine with the ability to modify the design based on the desired outcome, with belt speed and cut length being fully adjustable using the HMI. 


Liquorice production has come a long way since its early creations in the 1700s and liquorice equipment has come even further.

BCH are committed to finding the best process for you and your business, providing a service from start to finish allowing us to control every aspect of the process from design to installation. 

If you are interested in BCH’s liquorice process contact us today to find out how we can improve your process.