PLANTATION, HARVEST AND ROASTING
Inside the fruit, which is very similar to cherry, also for the color, there are 2 seeds covered by 2 membranes, one very thin called “silver skin” and the other thicker than the first, called “parchment skin”.
A peculiarity of the coffee plant is the simultaneous presence of white flowers together with cherries at different degree of maturation, due to its regularly cycle of germinating, after every rain.Several kind of coffee exist but only 2 of them are good for tasting: Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee.
The Arabica plant is more prestigious for its taste and aroma. It is more sensitive to the hot, to moisture and to diseases, that’s why it is cultivated between 900 and 2000 m altitude.
The most important Countries producing coffee are in:
Latin and Central America which produce mainly the Arabica;
Asian equatorial terrritories which produce mostly high-quality Robusta;
Africa which produce middle-quality Robusta.
The “Stripping” harvest.
It is a manual and cheap method. All the fruit of the bunch is manually removed from the branch, in one go from the inner part to the external one.
But in this manner also the not ripe berries are removed.
The mechanical harvest.
This system uses big harvester machines that shake down the plant to make ripe fruits and leaves fall to the ground where they are collected.
The Picking harvest.
This is a very selective and manual method in what way only fully matured fruits are collected, leaving the not ripe fruits on the branch. It is an expensive method but it presents the best qualitative results.Once the coffee berries are collected they need some processes to separate the internal beans from the external pulp.The two main processing methods are:
The dry processing method.
The fruits are exposed to the sun to dry for several days. The drupes are mixed frequently to avoid the fermentation and when they are dry, the machines take out the green beans from the dried fruit. The coffee obtained from this process is called “natural”.
The wet processing method
The cherries are immersed in a water tank to separate the red berries from the bads or the unripes by a gravity process. Then they pass through a machine which separate the skin and the pulp, then the beans covered by the parchment skin ferment in water and next they are dried in the sun until they relieve their skin. The resulting coffee is called “washed” and it presents high-class organoleptic characteristics.
Before to be packed, coffee undergoes futher phases of decortication, cleaning and manual selection or through electronic selectors in order to divide the beans according to their dimension and shape.
The Arabics usually need a clearer and emphasized toasting in order to not change their delicate distinguishing aromas.The Robustas, on the contrary, need a darker toasting to cover their rigidity peculiarities.
Also, in the South of Italy, the most demanded toasting is the stronger one to obtain a darker coffee and with an intenser aroma. Instead, in the North a clearer toasting is more demanded to have a sweeter and less intense coffee.