Sunday, May 30, 2010


Lavazza is the largest coffee producer in Italy. In the world market they are second only to Starbucks but differently from Starbucks, Lavazza only deals in coffee. Our class went to the Lavazza training center f their largest of six production plants in the world. Every day coffee arrives from all corners of the world where it is blended according to very secret formulas thought up by the lab for maximum flavors. The whole process is Top secret aside from the guided tours. But they don’t allow any photographs of the processing because of patented technologies that only Lavazza uses. The tour was interesting enough but I was happy that it would be the last factory we would visit. In Italy it seems that every factory uses the same methods of production and storage and if you have seen one you have seen them all. But, of course you can’t know this until you have seen at least a few of them. The Italians thought they do not like to work a lot they do take pride in the things they do produce. If you think about it, for as little as they do work they manage to get quite a bit done which I guess is something anyone could be proud of.

When we arrived we were offered espresso and cappucino by our trainer. As we had to wake early for the trip to Turin, we were all Happy for the free cup of joe. After coffee we headed into the training classroom where at length we were given the over view of the last hundred years of the evolution of the company. Lavazza was started by Giuseppe Lavazza who opened a small grocery store in the heart of Turin. He had been to Columbia and fell in love with coffee. He sold the coffee in it’s raw green form for his customer s to take home and roast for themselves the problem being that if one cannot properly roast coffee then they coffee burns and tastes like merda(the stronger word for poop). Thus Signore Lavazza acquired a coffee roasting hand operated machine and became the first person in Italy to sell Pre-roasted coffee to the masses. He knew what he was doing so word of his coffee soon spread. He closed the grocery store in--- in order to focus only on coffee. The rest is history.

Since that first store Lavazza has tried to stay on the cutting edge, Devoting many of it’s resources to research and development of technology for the processing and packaging of coffee inorder to obtain the perfect drop. It is because of this that they opened the training center to educate, distributors supplies and baristi throughout the world. For your edification; the perfect shot of espresso is made first by choosing the correct roast for yourself be it Arabica Bean, Which is softer, a bit sweeter and containing less caffeine or Robusto which as the name suggests is bitter with stronger flavor and much more caffeine. The most common is a mix of the two, one hundred percent robust is really not drunk because it would be too bitter for the average consumer. Once you have selected you beans you must then select you roast. A rule of thumb is the darker the roast the stronger the flavor, less caffeine and vice versa. From here you have to think about the grind. This is tricky, you want the grind to be like a fine sand not dust but not too coarse either. The water should be able to flow throught the coffee with out clogging the fine holes in the dispenser handle but the maximum surface are of coffee must be exposed to the water in the minimal amount of time Ideally this “percolation” time should be no more or less than seven seconds before coming out of the handle in a continuous small stream. Once the perfect grind is achieved then you must thing about the portion of coffee in the dispenser handle. The Ideal shot will come from 6.5-7grams slightly less than a tablespoon. The coffee is lightly packed into the handle is affixed to the machine. It there is too little coffee in the handle the water will flow too quickly and sputter out of the spout which will ruin “La Crema” or slight foam that rests atop the perfect espresso. If there is too much coffee the stream will dribble out and the coffee will burn inside the handle before a decent shot is produced. The water must be sub boiling, at a healthy simmer between 90 and 95 degrees Centigrade (193-203 F) The water is pushed through the spout with a pressure of nine bar. 7 second steep and 25-30 seconds to stream out. Serving size about 1.25 ounce. For a cappuccino the milk should always be frothed from the top then gently stirred to ensure that the bubbles are well emulsified with the warmed milk and poured directly into the center of the shot and filling a 200ml cup. This gives you the best cup of Joe and concludes my talking about Lavazza. I know that this will help me to make a better cup of coffee with my espresso machine I hope it does the same for you. Ciao For Now, Stay Tuned.

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