Thursday, June 9, 2016
Cool Beans at Sandy Caffe
The other day, we took a tour of an Italian coffee roaster, Sandy Caffe. Coffee culture in general is very different in Italy than it is in America, more simple and set at a lower pace. No drive through Starbucks on every corner, if you want coffee before work or class, you wake up earlier and walk there yourself! No tall-skinny-caramel-frappa-mocha-ccinos-hold-the-whip, no drip coffee either! Simple espresso drinks only.
While it is pretty uncommon to find a local coffee roaster roasting in shop (or at least uncommon here in Castiglion Fiorentino) it was such an interesting experience to be able to witness the day to day operations of a fairly large scale roaster that still kept an intimate control over the roasting process.
It begins with the bean, whole and unroasted and shipped directly from the farmer in those trendy burlap coffee bags. After that, the beans are weighed and roasted for approximately 20 minutes before cooling. At 16 minutes, it is important to keep a close eye on the roaster. Just 30 seconds too long and the beans are burnt and the batch is ruined. Sandy only offers blended beans, mixed together after roasting. Blended to keep flavor constant, mixed after roasting to ensure that each variety is roasted to perfection. If you roast it all together, then you get some varieties too roasted and others not quite roasted enough. While I wish that they would offer single origin varieties to let the bean speak for itself, I understand the business mind behind the decision. My favorite part was how hands on they are with the entire process. It would be easier and cheaper to invest in machines to do everything automatically, but Sandy understands and respects the sacred process of coffee roasting.
Walking up the hill to Caffe Roggi for my morning cappuccino this morning, I noticed something that I hadn't before. I was greeted by a simple sign outside, and a small logo on my coffee cup: Sandy Caffe. Cool beans.