It’s the barman that vouches a perfect preparation of espresso. Therefore, this article, where we would like to delve into each of the rules to be followed, in order to serve an ideal coffee, is dedicated to him. These rules are also known as “5 M” rules: miscela (blend), macinadosatore (grinder), macchina (coffee machine), manutenzione (maintenance), and mano (hand). In the present issue, we are going to start to talk about Miscela (blend), from which taste, aroma and full-bodiness of the final product depend on. A blend is the combination of different monorigins, obtained by roasting raw coffee. There are two kinds: Arabica and Robusta.
The first one, more widespread, comes from a plant looking like a small tree, which grows up to three metres once pruned; its fruits include two seeds that are very similar to cherries, round and outstretched. When ripe, they assume a red or purplish colour. Coffea arabica comes from Ethiopia originally, where the first cultivations started, which then advanced to the tropical regions all over the world. Main feature is the higher percentage of sugars, while caffeine (0,8-1,5%) is lower compared to Robusta. In fact, you get a more aromatic coffee with sweeter and milder taste from a blend containing more Arabica. On the other hand, Coffea robusta (canephora) is a small evergreen tree, which grows as well up to three metres once pruned.
Even this coffee plant produces fruits such as those of Arabica coffee, but they are somewhat smaller. Robusta is able to grow even six hundred metres above sea level, given that it better stands heat, diseases and heavy rains and has a higher productivity. Caffeine content is about twice as much as in Arabica (1,7 – 3,5 %). In fact, from a blend containing more Robusta, a coffee that is denser and has a more bitter taste, with higher creaminess and full-bodiness is obtained.
In fact, from a blend containing more Robusta, a coffee that is denser and has a more bitter taste, with higher creaminess and full-bodiness is obtained. The variety of monorigins also depends on the different plantation types. Not everyone may know that other bushes, which proximity often affect the coffee bean taste, are frequently cultivated next to coffee plants. For example, in a plantation called “commercial policultivation”, besides coffee plants, orange trees, cloves or legume plants are put, which have the role to fix nitrogen in the ground. The picked coffee beans will certainly remind of other flavours.
The percentages of Arabica or Robusta in a blend are not the only requirements determining the beverage’s quality and aroma. 100% Arabica is often labelled as “special” coffee. An ideal blend depends on several other factors: selection of coffee beans, origins of their cultivations and roasting methods. Obviously, what needs to be considered as well is the care the barman has to give to maintenance and cleanliness of the coffee machine, to grinding and to the practice in preparing and serving an ideal coffee, beyond choosing the blend that best meets the taste of his customers.