by Leonardo Maggiore, Consultant and Training Manager for HoReCa Diba 70 (cover photo)
What kind of coffee are we all used to at home, in the bar or in the restaurant? Sometimes it satisfies us, often it literally leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. We drink it too fast, at any time of the day, for its caffeine content, for an office break, to meet a person. But we know too little about the coffee drink. We limit ourselves to the product brand, the name of the grate, the logo or the testimony. We know that it can be decaffeinated or colored, long, narrow but nothing reminds us of its vegetable origin, its taste, its preparation. By now we know all about wine, tea, even water. And the coffee?
it’s time to take a step back and start by asking yourself a few questions: What’s in a cup of espresso? Is there only one type of coffee? Where does it come from? Who grows it? How is it produced? Does coffee always taste the same? How many methods besides suede ?. We must start from the beginning to finally become aware of its value. From the bean to the cup, coffee goes through a long supply chain made by 2,000 different hands and it’s time to tell their story.
Coffee is grown in the so-called coffee beltthe planet’s tropical belt, and has among its main producers Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Honduras and Ethiopia. Its global consumption: Europe, USA, Brazil, Japan. The coffee species classified so far are 90, although only 25 are grown. They are mainly divided into Arabica, Canephora (from which the Robusta variety is derived) and other subspecies. Arabica was born at over 600 meters above sea level and represents 70% of world production. It is susceptible to disease and needs more treatment. Its grains are larger than the Robusta variety (44 chromosomes). Canephora, on the other hand, is born at sea level and accounts for 30% of world production. It is disease resistant and has a higher caffeine content. The grains are smaller (22 chromosomes).
Coffee is a tree with green leaves and small white, fragrant flowers, which resemble jasmine. Its fruits are red cherries (when ripe) which are usually harvested between January and March, or between October and December, and then you work. The seed of the cherry is used (unlike all other fruits) and the pulp is discarded which can be used as a natural fertilizer. To get the seed, after mechanical or manual harvesting (which of course depends a lot on the selection level and the quality of the end product), we go through different processing processes:
Process washed – After the separation of the pulp and the beans, the coffee is left in the pan to ferment and be washed and then dried in the sun or with dryers. The result in the cup? High acidity, light fullness, pure goblet, citrus and floral aromas.
Natural process – The whole grain is allowed to dry in the sun or with dryers and then peeled off. The result in the cup? Low acidity, high fullness, sweet cup, very fruity aromas.
Honey Processes – The grain is peeled and allowed to dry. The result in the cup? Balanced acidity, medium-bodied, very sweet cup, slightly fruity bakery aromas.
The beans are selected by a mechanical or manual process to eliminate the defective (moldy, buggy, dry, immature, broken and with other defects). The coffee is then archived on the basis of the process and quality discovered so far: botanical species, manufacturing process, harvest year, height above sea level, bean size, color.
Cupping –And now? It is not possible to evaluate and consume a raw coffee. The infusion aromatically resembles an herbal tea made from straw. The only way to appreciate the roasting of coffee is to taste it in various preparations, as it will be able to release all the aromas that characterize it.
Is there therefore a coffee aroma?To compensate for most things, the chemical components are derived from cooking and roasting, but it is not enough. When you try a coffee, as well as with a wine, very different tones (positive or negative) can be distinguished: hazelnut, caramel, flowers, fruit, but also burnt, cardboard, rubber, green. Like all agricultural products, there are better and worse years of coffee, excellent and poor quality, processes that can improve or destroy it. Coffee for the most part of commercial or medium quality must therefore be carefully selected and processed correctly. Once the coffee has been selected as a raw material, it arrives in the land of transformation where it will be roasted, mixed and packaged to finally reach our cup.
The roastery’s work is therefore only part of the long coffee supply chain. To get a quality product, it is necessary to know the raw material in all its forms, from the green selection to extraction in filters or espresso, up to tubs and capsules, without forgetting the presentation of the drink to the customer. For this and other reasons, we have become a coffee farm, by buying a coffee plantation in Honduras together with other partners. We became farmers alongside the local farmers, who are also members of the cooperative that manages the plantations. We have built a new quality road that provides value for all daily agricultural choices.
Our attention is not only focused on the finished product but on the entire production chain, from seed to cup, from grower to bartender, which puts sustainability at the center of every action: give value to the work, take care of the environment, create high-quality products. Ours is a socially responsible coffee, drinking coffee is an agricultural act for us. We put the product and its value back in the center.
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Published May 20, 2022