An evergreen bush that grows in warm humid climates in the abundant rains of the tropics. This is the coffee plant. Among its oval leaves, the bright white flowers with their incredible scent soon turn into drupes, fruits similar to cherries. Green at first, they ripen to a bright red and hold two elongated seeds, pressed together along their flat grooved sides. These are the coffee beans. Famous species? Arabica, a variant from the high plains, older and widespread, sensitive and fine due to its delicate fruity flavour. Robusta, more resistant to heat and disease, less widespread, for a drink with a marked flavour and bitter woody notes.
When the fruits start to turn red it is time to harvest the coffee. This is a delicate operation that sees different solutions depending on the land, the plantation and the climate. Stripping is rapid yet inaccurate and gives an abundant harvest but of a mixed quality. Then there is large machinery. Or the more expensive accurate picking, the drupes selected one by one across the plantation. This latter manual system is the one preferred by Manuel Caffè for its coffee harvesting.
Extraction of the bean
Now the drupes are on the ground, the beans ready to be separated from their pulp. Dry processing using the heat of the sun and the more labour-intensive scrupulous wet processing give natural or washed coffees respectively. This is followed by selection, sorting by size and shape and critical assessment by the best tasters, then the coffee is put into large hessian sacks, stamped with the exact characteristics of the beans they hold and exported all over the world.