the plantation - coffee
Brief technical description of the methods of elaboration i have chosen for our coffee, how it is produced in general and why
WET PROCESSED, OR „WASHED“, identified by the letter (W)
The hardly-harvested coffee is immediately sorted and the skin and pulp are removed from the grain by a specific machine (wet milling).
What remains is a coffee bean wrapped in its tegument (parchment), coated by its firmly attached mucilage.
The mucilage should also be removed, and I prefer to do it in two steps:
First with a slight fermentation, which enriches the grain with its beautiful perfumes, while eliminating the fleshiest part of the mucilage.
Then by rubbing the grains together in running water "until the parchment sings".
Only then the coffee is clean and ready for drying.
After drying, the parchment is removed by the mechanical hulling process (dry milling). Then the coffee beans are categorized (sorted according to their size) and checked by hand, grain by grain.
At this stage, the coffee receives its grade and is theoretically ready for roasting, but still has a "green", herbaceous scent. By letting it rest in an appropriate environment – dry, fresh and ventilated – the herbaceous scent fades and the bean is enriched with fragrant and delicate aromas.
In large coffee productions (W), the mucilage, attached to the parchment, is instantly removed (by friction in water and with pressure) after depulping, and the coffee can be dried directly. So fewer steps, less cost, but the lack of fermentation also gives less complexity in aromas and fragrances.
DRY PROCESS, OR „NATURAL“, identified by the letter (N)
The hardly-harvested coffee is immediately sorted and selected with care. In this type of transformation the pulp plays a very important role in the development of aromas in the coffee bean, and must therefore be perfect.
After selection the fruit is spread in a thin layer on an open-air dryer and is continually stirred. Three days later the operation is continued on an artificially heated dryer. When the fruits are fully dry, they are stored to "finish ripening" (before refining) in a dry and ventilated environment.
During the drying process and the first refining, some of the pulp’s perfumes and colours migrate to the grain and thus transmit a delicate but well marked fruit aroma.
Following the first refining, the coffee is shelled, calibrated and selected manually, grain-by-grain. Only then it receives its definitive code and can return to the store for its maturation.
More details on dry processing (N):
Dry processing is the simpler one of the two production types, as the hardly-harvested coffee goes directly to drying. However, drying a whole coffee cherry (N) requires much more energy than simply drying the bean, surrounded only by its parchment (W). This is why in medium or large productions this method is eliminated from the very start. Usually, the dry process (N) is preferred by small producers with limited means, drying the coffee cherry in a summary manner spread on cement or earth, and then selling it directly (dried cherries).
As already mentioned, during the drying process (N) some of the pulp’s perfumes migrate through the thin parchment towards the coffee bean and add to its intrinsic aromas. The importance of this phenomenon is such that coffee cherries dried on the soil have (more or less pronounced according to the specific circumstances) the scents of the earth with which they were in contact. For this reason dry processed coffee (N) has become synonymous of very mediocre quality.
The perfumes of the pulp vary greatly from one coffee variety to another, and not all varieties lend themselves to this type of production.
On the other hand, when the aromas of the pulp perfectly match those of the grain, and the coffee is elaborated with care, accuracy and attention, the (N) gives a pleasure of unparalleled plenitude, as well as complex and fruity aromas.
In order to be able to judge in a clear, simple and unambiguous way in which the different types of production impact the same variety of coffee, grown on the same "terroir", we propose you GRANI.
The three varieties of Arabica, Grani CAT, Grani BB and Grani NM each one produced in both ways (W and N), give you the possibility to explore these complementary expressions!