In Speciality Coffee the production process starts a few hours after the harvest, that happens after a careful selection to identify the beans at full maturity. That’s why quality is preserved: the process influences irretriavably on the final result and that’s essential for a Special Coffee.
The way the beans are worked depends on the choices of the Special Coffee producer and also on the geographic location.
Essentially, there are 2 different production methods:
- dry or natural treatment
- wet treatment
But they share the same target: to get the beans ready for the dry mill.
Dry or wet treatment and Speciality Coffee
The dry or natural treatment is the oldest method, where the coffee beans are eased down to dry in the sun; they will be constantly turn over for a homogeneuos drying.
The procedure gives to the beans aromas the can be excellent or even unpleasant, if insufficient attention is paid.
Being a method that does not need water resources, it is used a lot in the places with limited water access, such as in Ethiopia and in Brazil.
The beans need about 2 weeks to complete the drying: they lose their bright colour and they wilt.
Speciality Coffees can be worked also with a wet treatment, that helps the bean to lose the peel before it dries out.
The coffee beans (sometimes it is not paid attention to their level of maturity) are immersed in water to help the removal of the external layer of the peel. The mucilage covers the beans that are stuffed in tanks, according to their weight.
Now the manufacturing process of Caffè Speciali branches, creating another distinction:
- the wet process continues with the fermentation until the separation of the mucilage, then a washing, total removal of the pulp and drying;
- the hybrid process does not need fermentation but the drying of the beans for about 7-12 days.
Selection: division between Special Coffee and conventional coffee.
Now Special Coffee beans converge into a sorting machine (a dry mill) that removes the external layer of the bean and the silver surface below. Through an optical sensor, the machine separates the beans for their colour shades.
Best quality coffee beans, still green, are selected for Special Coffees, while low-to-middle quality beans are meant for the large scale market.