Coffee is now such a part of modern life, from that first small Espresso of the morning to the last after dinner, that we might forget it is an ancient product which features in many stories over the centuries.
The slow but progressive growth of coffee in various Islamic countries can be traced back to 1300, and many are the ancient legends that exalt its invigorating and exciting properties.
Was it parhaps coffee that black beverage that drove away sleepiness, very useful for long nights of prayer, that the monks of the Chehodet monastery, in Yemen, obtained from roasting seeds found in the red berries of mysterious shrubs that grew spontaneously in that region?
Leaving aside the legends, coffee has its origins in the region of Kaffa in Ethiopia. It is not hard to see that this is where it gets its name although some schools of thought think it originates from the Turkish word “kavhè“ which itself comes form the Arabic “qahwa” meaning “stimulating, vigorous”. In 1500 European travellers and explorers discovered the use of coffee in Turkey. Arabian merchants started to introduce raw materials to the West and in Italy the first cafeterias sprang up. Devoted to intellectual activity they were called “schools of learned people” or “knowledge schools”. The following century saw the rapid spread of coffee across Europe. The Venetians first viewed coffee as a medicine but in 1645 the first “coffee-shop” opened in Venice in the Piazza San Marco, under the “Arcate delle Procuratie”. The legend tells that the Turks were forced to give up the city assault and during their escape they left behind many sacks of coffee.
Demand for coffee was ever increasing and as taxes and transportation costs were high the plant was introduced to other areas of the world. The Dutch established plantations in Giava, the French in Martinique and on the Antilles, the English, Spanish and Portuguese in Africa, Asia and America. A story is told that coffee reached India thanks to Baba Budan, a pilgrim on a visit to Mecca, who stole seven coffee seeds and took them home hidden in the pleats of his clothes.
A direct control on all the steps of the production cycle: Segafredo Zanetti is in fact the only company in the coffee industry that directly controls the entire coffee production process.
From the cultivation and selection of the coffee beans on our plantations in Brazil, Hawaii and Costa Rica, to the art of the blending and roasting in modern facilities. Here we create blends of the most famous and appreciated Italian coffee all over the world.
Some guidance for the less common but still popular Neapolitan coffee maker:
a) Pour the water, always fresh and not hard, up to the small hole of the upper part, the one without a nozzle.
b) Fill the filter up with coffee and without pressing the powder screw down the upper part (the one with a nozzle).
c) Put the coffee maker on the flame and make the water boil, until you hear the whistling, which indicates that steam is coming out of the ventilation hole.
d) At this point take the coffee maker off the heat and overturn it slowly waiting until the water going through the coffee gets to the lower part.
e) After using the coffee maker, rinse all its parts and accurately check that the ventilation hole isn’t clogged.
If a good Espresso is the result of competence and technique, coffee preparation with the mocha is a personal rite, which combines passion, subjective taste, knowledge of the specific coffee maker and the use of jealously guarded secrets. Segafredo Zanetti gives you its advice in order to make a proper mocha coffee.
1) The water quality. Consider using mineral water. Hard water modifies the coffee taste. Don’t use already warm water in order to speed preparation. The water has to warm up gradually.
2) The correct amount. Pour the water in the hot-water heater without exceeding the valve level and completely fill up the coffee filter without pressing it.
3) On the stove. Keep the flame low. The slower the boil the better the coffee will be and you won’t burn the gasket, which we advise to change regularly. Keep the coffee maker cover open in order to avoid the steam making condensation and modifying the coffee taste. Once the coffee is ready, take the coffee maker off the heat. Boiling the coffee is a serious crime.
4) Before enjoying the coffee. Stir it with a small spoon inside the coffee maker in order to even out the density. Drink it as soon as it is ready in order to enjoy the fragrance and taste at its best.
5) The maintenance. Clean the coffee maker thoroughly every time you fix the coffee; absolutely don’t use soaps or detergents, but only warm water. Clean the filter scrupulously in order not to leave any remains or deposits. In case of a new coffee maker or one that hasn’t been used in a long time prepare two or three coffees with a small amount of coffee powder before fully operating it. After opening the coffee package put the coffee powder in an air tight container and keep it in the fridge in order to preserve the fragrance.
An Espresso prepared at the bar is the pinnacle of coffee, the form which exalts the taste and the fragrances to the maximum extent. Preparation of the Espresso is a real art. In order to obtain an excellent result at home we advise that you follow these rules:
1) The water quality: use mineral water instead of tap water. Tap water’s concentration of limestone may prevent the correct functioning of the machine and impact on the coffee quality. Every two months use the appropriate anti-limestone sachets for home espresso machines.
2) The correct dose: for every espresso cup you need 7 grams of Segafredo Zanetti coffee for an espresso machine. As a rule the measuring cup included in the machine corresponds to approximately 7 grams.
3) A bartender’s hint: once you’ve filled up the filter-holder, strike it gently on the table or on the inside of the hand in order to distribute the coffee powder evenly. Then press the coffee strongly using the supplied coffee tamper: a levelled surface is fundamental in order to fix a good Espresso.
4) The right time: the coffee has to come out the nozzle forming a continuous and even stream. Pay attention to the extraction time: if the coffee comes out too quickly try to press it with more intensity; in case it should come out very slowly check the pressure the other way.
5) An accurate maintenance: every time you prepare the coffee, clean away the powder remains of the former coffee from the filter, in order to avoid undesired coffee grounds and tastes. Once in a while let the water flow through the empty filter, just as if you were preparing a coffee. Before fixing another one wait for 2/3 minutes, checking that there is no water left in the filter-holder. Use this method also when you wash the filter-holder with tap water.
Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta are the most common varieties of the coffee plant.
Coffea, that is the coffee plant (Rubiacee family), that originates from the Arabian Peninsula, is now present in the whole equatorial zone. There are approximately seventy different species, among which Arabic Coffea and Coffea Canephora (including the Robusta variety) are the most common.
The coffee tree has oval leaves and white perfumed flowers joined in a bunch. The fruit is similar to a berry and has two seeds.
Coffee plants need warm humid weather, such as is found between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
For this reason our coffee plants are grown in the African, Asian and American equatorial zones.
The Robusta variety is suitable for a range of heights and temperatures and is more resistant to diseases and parasites. The Arabica is a more delicate variety.
Cultivation needs a steady temperature between 15 and 25 degrees and a humid ground, situated in spots sheltered from the wind. The Arabica variety grows at a height of between 900 and 1200 metres, while the Robusta variety grows under 500 metres in plains. The plants could grow to a height of 10 metres, but they are usually pruned when they are approximately three metres high to allow the picking.
During the year there are two or three blooms: between the bloom and the fruit ripening may be six to fourteen months. The yearly production per plant is 1.5 – 2 kg of coffee, apart from the most modern plantations where the level of production is higher.
The greatest manufacturer of coffee is Brazil, followed by Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, India and Guatemala.
The Arabica quality is produced mainly in the South American area; it covers three quarters of the world production, whilst the Robusta variety is produced for the most part in India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Picking of the ripened fruits is carried out through the manual selection of every single fruit, or establishing an average ripening point for all the fruit picking.
Picking is manually carried out according to the picking or stripping methods and that can last until the ripening end.
It consists in manually selecting every single fruit once it is perfectly ripened and this is the method that guarantees the best results.
The stripping, second method, is carried out in a single process. The person responsible for the plantation must decide upon an average ripening point, when all the fruit should be harvested.
Mechanical picking, the third method, makes use of a machine machine that shakes the plants to let the most ripened fruits fall. This method is carried out in the great plantations where the distance between rows is large.
The coffee beans have to be deprived of the pulp and separated from the impurities. This happens through two alternative methods: the dry or humid method.
During the dry process the fruits are dried under the sun or in the drier. They are sieved and winnowed, the pulp is taken off and then they are sieved again. This allows the separation of the beans from the impurities.
The humid procedure is more expensive, but produces the so called “lavados” or “washed” coffees, which are more prestigious than the “corrientes” or “natural” coffees produced with the dry process.
It consists in using flowing channels where the fruits are dragged and sieved so that the shell may be removed.
Afterwards they are put in fermentation stacks. Here repeated washings take the sugary coating off.
These beans are then dried under the sun or artificially, and are freed of any last remain
Once cleaning and drying is complete, selection is necessary in order to eliminate possible defects or impurities.
The main controls applied for green coffee, and carried out through optic machines are:
splits possible metallic particles
Cleanup and split up:
eliminates the coffee’s heaviest or lightest bodies
classifies the grain’s riddle and eliminates those out of standard
eliminates all bodies which don’t have the grain’s density
eliminates the grains that don’t correspond to the established standards
guarantees the perfect quality
Coffee roasting is an art which requires experience: during this process chemical modifications take place. These form the coffee’s taste and fragrance.
For Segafredo Zanetti coffee roasting is the result of constant research and technological innovation.
For the coffee roasting procedure, or toasting, the raw beans are first selected and then put in roasting machines.
Here they are heated up and constantly stirred until the temperature reaches 200-230°C.
During the roasting the beans lose weight (-20%), increase their volume (+60%) and are chemically modified; this way the coffee’s aromatic components develop. The coffee loses acidity and assumes the bitter taste. The more the coffee is roasted the more its taste is striking.
At the same time, the coffee acquires a dark brown colour called “monk’s robe”.
Blending consists in skilled dosing of the different varieties of raw coffee, or already roasted coffee, in order to obtain the desired blend.
For every Segafredo Zanetti coffee there is a blending reference named TASTE STANDARD, which is set by a group of experts.
Since the coffee qualities vary from one harvest to another, the roasting art consists in dosing the different components of the blending for every new harvest, in order to ensure that the blend meets the “taste standard”.
Segafredo Zanetti products are appreciated all over the world for all these reasons, owing to their great quality and our ability to understand and develop the taste.
Every preparation needs the right grinding: fine grinding for the espresso machine, medium for the mocha, coarse for filter coffee.
In the past years the market for ground coffee has increased. Due to the propagation of coffee-machine types and preparation ways, the correct grinding is ever more important.
The type of grinding in fact depends on the use the coffee powder is intended for.
In the filter preparation, for example, it has to be balanced, since very fine grained coffee blocks the water from draining and results in a bitter coffee. On the other hand, a coarse grained coffee doesn’t retain the water and results in a bland coffee.
For the mocha you’ll need a medium grind.
In the espresso preparation the grinding has to be fine and regulated according to the coffee machine being used. This allows an optimum extraction and results in the characteristic creaminess and body of the Italian espresso.
This is a very important stage. In fact, once the roasted coffee comes into contact with the air it deteriorates quickly: it’s components oxidize and the fragrance fades away.
Therefore coffee should be manufactured as soon as it comes out of the roasting appliance.
This is difficult due to the gases under pressure that the beans hold after roasting (mostly carbon dioxide), which in the coffee beans fade away in a few weeks.
This is why different manufacturing methods are necessary. Segafredo Zanetti uses valve sacks for coffee grains. The valve sacks allow the carbon dioxide to come out and prevent the coming in of oxygen and water vapour.
For ground coffee, instead, which loses its gases in a few hours, vacuum-packaging is used generally.