Having a good coffee is not that simple, assuming that you have already decided to choose a good quality coffee. A coffee that has been previously well selected, from the bush until the moment it has been imported, and finally roasted. The path of the coffee to arrive to your home is long and complex, and with a huge difference from other drinks as it is not a finish product when it comes out of the farm. From the producer till the final client who will consume it, different steps would have a vital importance to have a perfect cup. Fail one step and your coffee can easily be ruined. The life of a coffee is long and complicated. It is the history of a white flower which would finish in your cup, under the form of black liquor. A drink that will make you travel in each sip, developing all the different aromas which have had incidence in its life, with fruity, floral, and so much more notes.
Let’s go into details on these different steps that, when they are well done, can offer you the best coffee.
FIRST STEP: GREEN COFFEE
Green coffee is the mature product of coffee, before it passes through the roasting. All starts in plantations, with the intensive work of producers, the first and essential step for good coffee . Each year, together with the goddess Ceres, they invests all of their efforts in their lands to be able to provide the best quality. Throughout the year, they carefully select botanical varieties that adapt best to their “terroirs”. Then they harvest perfectly ripe cherries that would be able to provide all aromatically expressions of a coffee, once in the cup.
But the producer's work is not only about cultivation of land and selective harvesting of cherries; to provide a good coffee, he must carefully follow any step of coffee transformation. All the different transformation methods (washed, nature, semi-washed, honey, etc.) are capable of providing extraordinary coffee. As long as they are well done!
After their transformation, and before being imported, the coffees are classified according to their quantity of defects. Indeed, it is very important to ask about the classification of coffee, it is essential to have the best quality. At Belco, we have a long experience that allows us to perfectly master all of these issues; so, every year, we look for producers who can offer coffee that will satisfy all of these criteria. Year after year, we strengthen our relationships with producers in order to offer products with character and great quality to our customers.
A last point but imperative to know, the coffee should always be of new harvest. The coffee, unlike wine, doesn’t improve with years, but, on the contrary, loses its character! So, always remember to use fresh green coffee!
SECOND STEP: ROASTING
The roasting of coffee is a magical moment, where the coffee transforms itself. It is the moment when it reaches full maturity, that is to say when it becomes an adult. The moment when you can discovers all of the aromas it is capable to give.
Fisrt, the coffee must be roasted in an artisanal way. An artisanal roasting, unlike an industrial one, is slow and will allow coffee to develop correctly all of its aromas. An industrial roasting happens too fast and abrupt, and even if it might be able to trick your eyes, it will never ever be capable to trick your taste buds! There are different roasting profiles, but to simplify, we would mention the 3 best known worldwide:
- clear roasting known as American
- medium roasting called French
- dark roasting known as Italian.
The selected profile would have a huge influence in cup. The clearer your coffee is, the more acid it will be. The aromas would be better developed with a longer roasting. But we should be attentive, as much as a clear roasting keeps the “green” notes in a coffee, a too dark one would be able of killing all of its notes! Every coffee is also capable of giving different aromas depending on the type of roasting and each origin or quality would need a particular roasting.
All of the precedent is also applicable to coffee machines. Depending on the coffee machine, we would need different roasting profiles. The better adviser would obviously be a roaster, knowing its coffee as a child of its own. To finish with roasting, remember; consume coffee fresh… but not that fresh! Coffee should rest a couple of days, in order to develop its aromas, eliminate the remaining of CO2
and reach internal stabilization of its components!
THIRD STEP: THE GRINDING
As the roasting profile, the type of grinding will have a direct influence in the cup. Every coffee machine needs a specific grinding. In general terms, we would say that acidity decreases with the finesse of the grind. Meaning that the less fine a grinding is, more acid a coffee would be. In an Espresso machine for example, a fine grinding has 2 functions: it would increase the water absorption of coffee aromas while at the same time it will decrease the acidity (besides, combined with a dark roast).
As you can imagine, this combination of roasting-grinding wouldn’t be appropriate for a filter coffee machine. This is where the advice of the roaster is essential to help you select the beans and grind that best fit your coffee machine and your desires. The roaster is the ambassador of the producer's work, it will sublimate it and, at the end, the consumer remains the only judge of his coffee, when tasting. But we do not always realize the travel and the work done to get a drink full of flavor and subtlety. The perfect cup exists, but it requires a tremendous work. This is also what makes the charm of this exceptional beverage.
If Dionysus should have known coffee… his evening parties should have lasted longer!