Culinary Post #4: Coffee Roastery “The River”
I got into another taxi with three other girls. Not to worry, this time the taxi was legit and we knew where we were going. Our professors had already spoken with the taxi drivers to take us to the coffee roastery that was located on the outskirts of Arezzo. When we arrived at the roastery, we were welcomed by a freshly brewed cup of expresso– approximately 2 oz of straight expresso shot that came from freshly grounded coffee beans that were manufactured there on site.
It was nothing short of pure tarty and harsh Ethiopian bean taste in the coffee. Because I couldn’t get over the bitterness of the coffee in the initial taste, i decided to add some sugar—only a quarter of brown sugar was stirred into my cup but when I tried to stomach it didn’t seem to taste right anymore. In some ways the bitterness added to the genuinely of the coffee bean. Afterwards our tour around the roastery began. Our guide, Michael, first spoke about the tales of how he and his company first acquired the beans in 1958. It turns out coffee isn’t as old as you think. It first was introduced to the European countries during the 1600s.
Then he talked about how coffee is grown from berries. Inside the berry there should be two “twin”coffee beans. the problem for the coffee makers is getting out the seeds from inside the berries. Usually it is deemed that the bigger the berry the better the coffee. Some of the biggest exporters are Ethiopia and Mexico. According to Michael, the “Mexican beans are big but taste bad whilst Ethiopian beans are good but ugly”. Coffee trees stem from a (okay warning, my hearing is not the sharpest so the following word is my best discernment at the Italian accented word) roobica[?] trees.
When they import the beans, they check the humidity levels so that consumers aren’t just buying water when the bean is pressed to make coffee and look for defects. He showed us by showing us a coffee under a microscope. One of the most intriguing stories he told was about how monsoon beans were originated from. They were first produced by India when steam boats and faster transportation was not accessible. So the exporters from India traversed the long roads to reach the Europeans and by then the taste of the coffee beans they brought over were significantly different than the original taste form India. However, the Europeans enjoyed it immensely, so when the steam engine and other modes of transportation were invented, the Europeans wanted to maintain the taste. thus India’s company had to reproduce those same beans. They did so by growing the beans in the humid environment where it became the perfect environment for IMMORTAL bugs to thrive. these bugs were parasites that ate away at the beans but looked so much as the beans that most Europeans ate were probably mostly bugs!
(Look closely and you’ll see the screen shows an unhealthy coffee bean that had been attacked by the parasite.)
Then we were taken into the giant coffee roastery room where coffee beans had just gone through the first phase of roasting. The instrument that spun the beans was heated up to 210 degrees Celsius.
Here’s a video of it:
trim.9F9D9A92-CADE-4D2D-80EC-23E670A57A0A (I apologise for the snap chat formatting)
Everywhere we went there were coffee beans. from the bags upon bags of beans freshly imported through the tubes of beans that had to be filtered then finally to the packaging system–the smell of coffee was always filled the air.
Finally when the tour was over, we settled down again at the coffee table for another round of expresso. This time my friend advised me that the more sugar you add, the better it’ll taste–so I poured the entire package of brown sugar into my cup and never once had I regret my decision as badly as this. It was downright disgusting–not bitter but more acrid. I gulped down the remaining tablespoon that was left and then chugged some water. Luckily, I was able to covertly hide my distain. I guess adding more sugar will amplified the taste of the bitterness.
Contrary to popular belief that the milk fat is what makes the foam on top of the drink, we learned that it was actually the protein in the milk that has that affect. Michael even proved it by doing an experiment. He used butter and water to represent the fattiness variable and a bottle of protein “muscle milk” to test the protein hypothesis. when he poured the butter and water mixture in, it was apparent that the muscle milk mixture was the winner.
Italian word of the day: Caffè (cough-fay) – coffee