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Everything of Coffee


A handbook on the right way to extract espresso coffee.

Right from the beginning of our company’s activity we have considered it essential not only to limit ourselves to the sale of high quality blends, but also to concern ourselves with how our blends are then used in that small but real industrial transformation which the good barman carries out when he obtains from those beans of coffee that extract we call Italian Espresso.For some years now, we have also contributed actively by arranging meetings specifically designed to train operators in the techniques of correctly extracting espresso.

At a moment such as this which is special for Italy’s image in the world, the company believes it is fitting to offer its contribution to boost the image of Espresso Coffee, to safeguard it and to place it in its proper position.

It is important to bear well in mind, that coffee occupies one of the first positions on world markets with regard to quantity of exchanges, after oil but before cereals, bread and so on. It is defined as green gold and is for many Third World countries their most important export commodity.

Italy consumes roughly 4 kilos per capita and is in 10th position behind the countries of Northern Europe, Brazil, The USA and so on, whereas it is in 4th position for total value of coffee imported. All of this means that coffee is of vital importance for the home economy, for bars, which are small businesses and for the companies which produce coffee machines, coffee grinders, companies which build equipment for roasting, packaging and so on.

Countless legends exist as to the origins of coffee. The best known is that of the goats of a Muslim convent in the Yemen, which after eating leaves and berries of a " mountain bush " began to jump about as if they were crazed. This strange reaction made the monks curious and they prepared a drink to keep them awake so they could pray for longer. In fact coffee seems to have originated in Ethiopia, more precisely in the city of Kaffa which gives its name to coffee.

Before being consumed as a liquid drink as happens nowadays, the green berries were gathered, dried, roasted then ground and mixed with butter and salt.

The cakes made in this way were eaten on journeys as they had the power to suppress hunger and keep people awake during wars. From the year 1000 the Arabs began to use coffee beans in an innovative way, no longer eating the beans but instead boiling them in water to prepare a drink, which was used above all as a substitute for alcoholic beverages such as wine, banned by the Koran.

It was then brought to the West by Venetian merchants at the beginning of the 17th century. Around the 17th century it was first sold by pharmacies as an antidote to many illnesses and subsequently the first bars were opened where the new beverage was served, (Venice, Rome, Florence), places in which illustrious philosophers, writers and artists gathered.

Coffee is a seed contained in the pod ( red when ripe ) of a plant of various species of coffea, in the Rubiaceae family. The two principal species cultivated today are Coffea Arabica (Arabica) and Coffea Canephora (Robusta). The plant, an evergreen, yields fruit similar to cherries, which on the inside are made up of soft flesh and two beans or beans covered with a membrane ( pergamin ) and a silvery skin. The trunk of the plant is 5-10 centimetres in diameter, 4-6 metres tall with leaves similar to those of a bay tree and flowers that grow in clusters on the branch at the base of the leaves and look like jasmine flowers. The plant has a long life and in modern plantations begins to bear fruit at an age of three years. On average after a further 5-18 years the plant is replaced. As is well known coffee is cultivated in the equatorial-tropical zone between the latitudes of 30° north and 30° south.

The harvest period is not the same in every country as the fruit does not all ripen at the same time and may last for several weeks. The systems used for harvesting are commonly called "picking" and "stripping". The first is carried out by hand and consists of gathering only the ripe red cherries, in this way a final product of high quality is obtained. This method is extremely expensive and requires much harder work due to the different ripening times of the multiple flowerings, which are typical to coffee.

The second method consists of stripping from the branches all the cherries whether they are ripe or unripe. In this way ripe and unripe cherries, good and not good fruit, are inevitably mixed. In this way coffee is obtained which is extremely variable and not at all well blended in composition.

In better developed areas machines are used to beat the leaves of the plants and make all the berries fall.

There are two methods for working coffee: "wet", which gives washed coffees, and "dry" which gives natural coffees.

Washed coffees: the flesh is removed from the fruit as soon as it is picked, namely the flesh is separated from the seeds and the fruit is then placed in fermentation tanks and subsequently washed and dried.

Natural coffees: as soon as the fruit is picked, it is dried in the sun. When the cherry is dry, the seed is separated from the flesh by means of a stripping machine or a sieve.

Countless different types of Arabica and Robusta are produced all over the world the quality of both of which range from excellent to poor. The highest quality Arabica is produced in Central America ( Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico etc. ) and in East Africa ( Ethiopia and Kenya ), the highest quality types of Robusta are found in India and in Central Africa ( R.C.A., the Cameroons, Togo etc.)

Roughly 30% of the world’s production is in Brazil, and is mostly of Arabica ( the famous Santos variety ) and here too we find excellent and poor quality; the higher quality varieties play a fundamental role in espresso blends where they act as an amalgam.

Particular selections of many of these can be obtained, such as Caracolito obtained from the high fruit of the plant where one seed frequently aborts and therefore only a single seed grows with its characteristically smaller and rounder shape giving it its name Caracolito which means small snail, but with all the same characteristics, only more marked as they are concentrated. On the contrary, those selections based on the large size of the bean ( for example Maragogipe ) aim more than anything else to be attractive.

In espresso blends it is essential to use the right quantity of high quality Arabica coffees and the right quantity of high quality Robusta coffees, taking care, however, to identify the correct composition and the ideal percentages of each type. Arabica gives qualities of aroma, delicate flavour and the right degree of acidity, while Robusta gives qualities of full flavour, body, chocolatiness and creaminess in the cup.

So, the best blend for espresso coffee is that which obtains a delicate and skilful balance these various characteristics.

Decaffeination is a process which consists in extracting the caffeine from the coffee bean. There are different methods of caffeine extraction, but the most common one consists in emerging the coffee in a tank with water and a chemical substance called dichloromethane. The caffeine extracted is used mainly by pharmaceutical companies.

Decaffeinated Coffee
Coffee decaffeinated in accordance with the current regulations of the High Commissionership for Public Health.
Caffeine inferior to 0.10 to 100 parts of the dry substance.
( D.M. 20.5.76 )

Roasting is an extremely delicate process and it is vital that it take place in warm air ( indirect heating ), without direct flame or combustion fumes entering into contact with the product, so as to obtain essential uniformity in the roasted coffee. As regards the chemical transformations which take place inside the bean during this delicate process, it is important to know that coffee releases humidity and loses on average 20% of its weight,that the sugars representing about 11-12% are caramelized thus giving the characteristic dark brown colour, and that several of the essential oils present tend to leak out and can be seen after several days on the outside of the bean, ( which gives the characteristic drop )

The caffeine which is about 1-2.5% in the Arabica variety and about 2-4% in the Robusta variety undergoes no particular transformations during roasting and since it is highly soluble in water and dissolves rapidly, it is among the first substances to be extracted in the cup.

To obtain a good cup of coffee, 5 fundamental factors are essential.
These five factors all have the same importance in achieving the final result.

The Coffee Grinder is the instrument which transforms the coffee from beans into powder and delivers the portions to put into the filter. It is composed of a bell ( coffee bean container) which holds the coffee in beans; from the bell the coffee is transported to the centre towards the rotating grinding blades, firstly passing a magnet which protects the grinders from possible metallic pieces.

Grinding is considered the most delicate and important operation in the process of extracting espresso coffee correctly. Grinding is performed by a pair of grinders which consist of two hardened steel discs which spin at high speed grinding and chopping the coffee beans. They can be flat, of different diameters, or conical. Flat grinders are two exact tempered steel serrated discs which are mounted facing each other. One is fixed on the driving shaft and the other on the ring nut. Conical grinders are different from each other. The first is of a truncated conical shape and is mounted on the driving shaft; the second is externally of a cylindrical shape and internally of a truncated conical shape and is overturned and mounted on the ring nut. The main difference between the two grinders is that the flat variety spins at a velocity of roughly 900/1.200 revs per minute and could therefore cause the coffee to overheat; with the conical variety, at 500 revs per minute the problem of overheating is extremely limited. The mounting of flat grinders or conical grinders on the coffee grinder depends on the needs of the bar and the volume of work at any particular moment of the day.

The Dispenser outlet is of fundamental importance and which, apart from containing the ground coffee is also the instrument which determines the portion, which can be varied with a regulating mechanism.

After the coffee grinder has provided the coffee powder size measurement and the best portion, we can move on to the use of the espresso coffee machine.

The temperature and pressure of the water are of fundamental importance.

Apart from the external body, an espresso coffee machine is composed of a boiler, a volumetric pump, parts of continuous delivery, taps both for steam and hot water, pressure gauges etc.

The boiler is a tank which contains the water and the steam; it is fed by a heating resistor or by a gas supply. The boiler is crossed by a heat exchanger, namely the water directly drawn from the mains water supply is brought to the temperature required to prepare the espresso thanks to the exchanger. The temperature is regulated by means of the thrust meter.

The volumetric pump acts above the exchanger and has the job of bringing the pressure of the water to about 9 atmospheres. This regulation is carried out by means of a nut or a screw on the pump.

These two values can be kept under control by means of the machine’s pressure gauges.

It is important to keep the level of the water in the boiler under control by using the indicator which is a glass column, the outer parts of which are in communication with the boiler . This allows the operator to read the exact amount of water in the boiler. It must be somewhere between the minimum and the maximum.

The filters are cylindrical containers which hold the portion of ground coffee. There are one-cup and two-cup types. The jet is a circular net attached to the machine’s unit. A water softener is installed on the machine. This contains synthetic resins which block any encrustations found in the water, softening it and conditioning it. It is inserted between the water pipe and the espresso machine.

The professional ability of the operator is in charge of the correct extraction of the espresso. In fact the barman regulates the grinding of the coffee, which can change several times in a day depending on the level of the environment humidity. He decides on the right portions and the ideal pressure of the coffee powder in the filter container.

All of this with the final aim of obtaining the best extraction which should correspond to 25-30ccs of beverage in a time of 25-30 seconds.

To obtain the "Perfect Coffee" each seperate factor and all the parts which come into contact with the beverage must absolutely be maintained to clearly defined standards and in optimum conditions of efficiency by means of programmed maintenance and adequate periodic controls.
The coffee grinder must always be in a condition of perfect efficiency so as to guarantee excellent preparation of the espresso.
Weekly cleaning
The residual coffee grounds could oxidize by mixing with the fresh product and transmit an unpleasant taste of rancid oil to the beverage. For this reason the bell must be washed with water and well dried; in the dispenser outlet, apart from cleaning the glass, the cells where the portions are made should be cleaned, taking care to clean in the corners so that the correct weight of each portion can always be obtained.
Monthly cleaning
The grinders must be checked roughly once a month to verify their degree of wear and to decide whether they should be substituted. Worn grinders could lead to the presence of grounds in the cup.

The espresso machine must undergo a series of cleaning and maintenance operations to keep it in perfect efficiency over time.
Daily cleaning
Unit: Clean the gasket and the jets with a toothbrush; wash each unit by placing the blind filter in the filter holder, adding a teaspoon of a degreasing substance (pulicaf or bicarbonate of soda), insert the filter holder in the unit and turn it on.

Filters and filter holders
Extract the filters from the filter holders by using a blade to lever under the edge and wash carefully checking against the light that the holes in the filter are open. Use a screwdriver to clean the hole that lets the coffee out into the filter holder. Put the filters back in the filter holder, taking care that the ring which blocks the filter is in its correct position.
Steam jet
Put the steam jet in a container with hot water ( if possible taken from the same machine ) and leave it to soak for a few minutes until any residue of milk or other substances can be easily removed with a sponge.
Grill and cup tray
Remove the grills and take out the tray so as to be able to rinse it in running water and eliminate any deposits that might form.
Monthly cleaning
It is essential to change the water in the boiler at least once a month so as to always have clean water available.
The Resin Cleaner
Weekly cleaning
Regarding the manual water cleaner, the resins should be regenerated once a week using common coarse salt dissolved in the water to always obtain hardness from 2 to 5 French degrees. If an automatic resin cleaner is in use, the level of salt should be monitored and the activity carried out carefully.

It should always be remembered that with poor maintenance the same espresso machine will extract poor coffee even with an excellent blend.

Summary and check list for correct extraction of

When the parameters shown for " Correct Extraction" are observed, the coffee should fall to the exit of the spouts of the filter holders in a continuous way ( as when pouring oil ), therefore the coffee should not drip or fall too quickly.

Flavour and final appearance for the correct extraction of ESPRESSO COFFEE

It is essential for the coffee to be extracted in a well heated cup ( 40-50 °C ) made of white ceramic which allows the colour of the cream to stand out and the coffee to maintain its correct temperature. Besides the cup must be completely dry. We recommend coffee cups which are conical on the inside, that is with a tapering shape, narrower at the lower part and broader at the top as this allows the coffee to mix properly and the consumer to enjoy the beverage at its best.

Let us now look at some instances of non correct extraction and their possible solutions:

The appearance of the cream is very light:
Check that the grinding is not rough, the portion insufficient, the temperature not too low and that the water pressure is not more than 10 atmospheres.

The appearance of the cream is very dark:
Check that the grinding is not fine, the portion too heavy, the temperature not high, the water pressure is not less than 8 atmospheres, or that the filters or the filter holders are not blocked

The cream does not form:
The extraction time of the beverage is too long, the temperature is very high and the extraction is too fast.

We find coffee grounds in the cup:
Check that the grinders of the coffee grinder are in a good condition, that the grinding is not too fine, the temperature of the machine is not too high, or that the pressure of the pump does not exceed 10 atmospheres, taking for granted that the filter has been checked and that the filter holder is clean.

Mistakes to be avoided:
Leaving the ground coffee for too long in the dispenser outlet: storing the coffee in a place where the temperature is too high, too low or in damp places: using the coffee immediately after delivery ( above all in winter and summer ), extracting coffee which is too concentrated

At this point it is clear that a cup of Espresso coffee is not the result of a chance process, rather the final result of the ability and professional skill of both the producer and the operator.

ESSSE CAFFE is the first company in this sector to be certified according to the international UNI EN ISO 9002 standard also for its after-sales services, and has distinguished itself right from its birth for the sensitivity and degree of professional qualification of its Sales organisation.

The blends are the fruit of family tradition and modern and thorough research also in collaboration with with the Institute of Food Technology of the Universities of Bologna and Udine and for this reason are able to satisfy so many different needs.

Moreover, the members of the Sales Organisation are professionally trained both in terms of technical and commercial assistance. In fact the sales operators undergo specific in-house training courses, they use the appropriate instruments to check all the client’s equipment and verify the working conditions during the various stages: grinding, weighing, temperature, pressure and degree of hardness of the water, extraction and serving.

All of this in order to be able to intervene promptly should even one of the above described stages not be carried out in the correct way, with the aim of saving the operator time and money, but above all to

be able to contribute to the end success when extracting an Espresso which is really worthy of the name.

Via Carpanelli, 18/A 40011 Anzola dell'Emilia - Bologna / Italy
T (+39) 0516425711 F (+39) 051735502 n. verde 800211239
Partita Iva 00546021205
Codice Fiscale 02065720373
Capitale Sociale € 3.000.000 i.v.
Reg. Imprese di BO n. 02065720373
R.E.A. n. 248118

2010/11 ©ESSSE CAFFÈ S.p.A.

Ultimo aggiornamento: 07/10/2013