Blog: Ode to Coffee.
Between the field trips, classes, lack of sleep and non-stop adventures there has only been a “common” thing that has kept me going and that is coffee and lots of it. Arguably, a good or bad thing but Italy has exacerbated my caffeine habit and addiction. I can definitely get behind the Italian way of starting the day with a few espressos or maybe a cappuccino. I have always been a coffee drinker and my love for this liquid has only grown while staying here.
There are two species, coffee arabica (Coffea arabica) and coffee robusta (Coffea canephora). Depending on the species, coffee can be grown at high (arabica) or low altitudes (robusta). Processing for this plant can take two routes, wet or dry. The normally handpicked coffee cherries are either soaked in water so that the skin can be removed or dried in the sun and the skin naturally crumbles. The beans are then shipped all over the world to large roasting facilities.
I was able to witness this last step in the processing during our last field trip. We toured a coffee roasting facility called, Sandy S. p. A. There, we were able to see how coffee beans were roasted and packaged. How they carefully sourced their arabica coffee beans from South America and gently roasted them for different time-periods resulting in what is known as roasts, i.e., dark, medium, and light. We were able to sample a selection of their blends and learned how different handling and procurement can have a huge impact on the flavor. Overall, my coffee addiction and my experiences going to a processing facility have officially made me a “coffee connoisseur”!
I have always wanted to expand my knowledge on this magical bean. The tour of this processing plant and how they handle the coffee beans made me realize of how much work goes to deliver a product that we as the general-public, are not aware. I have become a smart consumer and as with the wine, have a better appreciation of what happens to a crop after it is harvested.