Last week I had the pleasure of touring a coffee roastery of one of my favorite breakfast places in Arezzo called Coffee O’Clock. I literally eat there every morning. We started this tour by going into their coffee laboratory. This lab was quite small. While we were in the lab our tour guide told us about the different coffee seeds and how they measure them. They have a shifter that will measure the size of the bean. They also have a microscope that they use to see if the bean is any good or not. They check for 1. fermentation and 2. bugs. The guide showed us a bean that had bugs on it. This bean is commonly known as monsoon, and it has bugs on because of the humidity and wind the climate where they grew the bean was exposed to.
Next we moved to the factory portion of the company. I think I remember hearing that the factory is ran by 3 employees; therefore, it is very industrial. They have this huge funnel that is connected to a cylinder. The beans rush into the funnel and then into the cylinder. The beans in the cylinder are roasted for about 15-20 minutes at about 210 degrees Celsius. During the roasting the h2o is released. After roasting, the beans are released in to a container that will stir the beans until they cool down. The beans have no taste because of oxidation.
Next we moved to a back shed that host two vats. Coffee is put underground, then the tunnels transport it to a contraption that, I might be mistake, uses inferred light that checks bean by bean if it is dark and large. If the bean is unwanted it will pushed outside. The coffee will be weighed by the scale and then goes to be roasted. The Stiles (vats) are what they use to start their coffee. Same cell, same coffee.
After the roast, you blend. Roast each component then roast each coffee. After, you roast it together. This company is able to roast more homogenous batches.
The guide was telling us that they need to buy the beans from companies because beans are grown in tropical areas. He said it is hard to trust people because they could sell you a bean that is mostly water. It is a matter of trust. In Uganda the women take care of the bananas and the men grow the coffee beans. If the coffee is sold at a high price the man will pocket some of the money and buy wives. The wife will ruin the beans. So to resolve this problem from happening, the company will tell the family that the money is to be shared between the women and the man.
In Costa Rica they buy 100 bags….that is all the coffee the family is producing, and they pay more than the market. They also ask the family to keep a certain amount of money for social things. This makes the farmers proud to be using this company and to put their name on their farm.
This company pays upfront because it feels more real and sociable.
Before this company starts to pack the beans, they will pick out all of the broken beans. They do this because a broken bean will mature faster and become rancid
This company uses solar panels to produce I think about 70% of the energy and they try to stay as green as possible. The company still needs to use fossil fuels. I think it is great that this company is trying to reduce their carbon foot print.
While we were trying their espresso, the guide gave us some intriguing coffee facts.
- Espresso losses original flavors and other flavors when roasted
- Cafe Coffee is a middle roast
- Denmark buys a lot of espresso
- Arabica is much more interesting and is drank singly
- Robusta is espresso
- When you drink a blend it can be very performing giving the right body and foam
- Coffee arrived in Europe in the 1600
Overall it was a very good visit! I had no clue what intricate work went into producing and selling coffee.