The alchemy of coffee: how to deliver the highest quality, time and time again
Mitch Monaghan, Nespresso Coffee Ambassador
At Nespresso, providing our customers with the highest quality coffee experience is at the heart of everything we do. Whether in the comfort of their homes, working in the office, flying in the air or staying in hotels, we believe that coffee rituals shouldn't be compromised.
Nespresso is proud of what we call the 'bean to cup' journey that delivers this quality coffee; it's essentially the measures we take to ensure that we're bringing coffee lovers a selection from the top one to two per cent of coffee beans worldwide. We have 13 coffees within our Professional range meaning that coffee lovers have choice and variety wherever they may be – at work, travelling or at a fine dining restaurant.
We know that increasingly, more and more people have a desire to become coffee connoisseurs, to know more about the coffee they consume and how it was farmed, blended and transported for their daily morning cup. To fill you in, we've created a step by step guide revealing what happens behind the scenes right from where it all begins, in the country of origin.
1. IT ALL STARTS WITH A LITTLE CHERRY.
The origin that has nurtured the coffee plant, including soil, water, sun and the care of farmers, will play a large role in the aroma and characteristic of coffee. With time, the natural alchemy gives rise to a cherry containing two beans which will eventually reveal a unique aroma and flavour.
2. TROPICAL CLIMATES ARE KEY.
Coffee is grown in the soils of what is known as the bean belt, nurtured by the warm temperatures and thriving on abundant rainfall. Throughout the year, Nespresso Coffee Experts travel the world in search of the finest coffee beans from key coffee regions in South America, Asia and Africa. And it's never a finite process. Year after year, our experts discover new origins where we can source from.
3. HAND-PICKING CHERRIES IS PIVOTAL.
We work with farmers to educate them on the benefits of hand picking as ultimately, this leads to higher quality which in turns ensures a premium price for the coffee they sell. This handpicking means that only the ripe, best tasting coffee is harvested.
4. TRANSFORMING THE CHERRY TO GREEN COFFEE.
Nespresso uses a variety of natural methods to remove the coffee bean from the cherry. You have to keep in the end in mind when applying a wet or dry process as each will impact the flavours and the aromas of the coffee differently. For example, the dry method gives the coffee a sweeter taste whereas the wet method brings out delicate fruity notes.
5. CREATING A UNIQUE BLEND.
Once the coffee has been transported and undergone strict quality control at the farm and in our production centre in Switzerland, we begin to blend. The composition of a blend involves some serious science. First, we select certain coffee origins for their particular characteristics: aroma, finesse, quality of crema and the after-taste. We then combine them to intensify their individual characteristics.
6. MY FAVOURITE PART – ROASTING.
Roasting is vital to dehydration which creates unique coffee flavours, revealing the full aromatic and flavour profile of the green beans. With heat, the coffee bean expands and the caffeine content increases. The acidity and body develop slowly, and then diminish, while aromas reach their optimum quickly before decreasing. Nespresso uses the technique of split roasting in some blends, meaning we roast each origin separately to allow them to develop their full potential. This technique, in my opinion, offers incomparable results.
7. GRINDING TO CREATE A POWDER.
Grinding increases the surface area of the coffee in contact with oxygen and the coffee risks losing its aromas quickly. It is therefore carried out in a deoxygenated environment. The coffee is placed into a grinder and the degree of grinding is calculated to suit the particular blend of coffee. Accurate and consistent grinding is imperative and is about the right balance between various attributes that we wish to bring out: acidity, bitterness, body and aromatic notes. The grinding process affects the flow time when preparing your coffee. For example, the more finely ground the coffee, the slower the speed with which water will pass through it meaning the more full bodied and bitter the taste will be.
8. BUT HOW DO YOU KEEP IT SO FRESH?
Nespresso has developed an exclusive method of packaging its coffee in hermetically sealed aluminium capsules. These capsules provide the pressurised seal needed to preserve the 900 aromas of freshly ground coffee for twelve months and protecting the freshly ground coffee from air, light and humidity. The other great thing about aluminium is it is 100% infinitely recyclable material.
And there you have it, secrets to creating the highest quality coffee. As you can see, nothing is left to chance. Our unwavering commitment to giving coffee lovers the very best is considered at each and every step of the way.