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the plantation - coffee

Claudio has been for 40 years in Africa working with coffee. First in Zaire where the coffee plantations covered 12,5 km²

Now, living in São Tomé e Príncipe his coffee production is much smaller.
The Liberica Coffee (mainly used in combination with chocolate) is grown on Principe. The different varieties of Arabica have their home on the island of São Tomé.
 
Half way up the highest mountain on the island of Sao Tome lies the plantation of Nova Moca. Here Claudio and his team cultivate the different varieties of Arabica on terraces protected by stone walls. Some of these varieties are the world's most exquisite and rare species.
 
The fruits, once they are perfectly mature, are harvested by hand one by one and processed using natural methods developed by Claudio himself in order to preserve the different aromas of each species and variety of bean.
 
It is easy to see how the different varieties each have their own distinct taste. They all grow on the same soil, receive the same treatment, yet taste distinctly different.
 
To experience these differences Claudio made the “3 loucuras”. Three different varieties of Arabica, covered in 55% chocolate. HERE is a short description of a tasting experiment.
 
Our coffee "Claudio's Special Selection" is a mixture of the three varieties of Arabica that we cultivate at Nova Moca. These are the same varieties as are presented in our box "tres loucuras".
 
The Liberica coffee is an almost extinct variety of coffee. It was abandoned because it was much less productive than Arabica or Robusta, and because its beans, which are particularly large and hard, must be peeled by hand, one by one. On our plantation Terreiro Velho on the Island of Principe we grow this extraordinary coffee alongside cocoa trees in the shade of age-old trees on hills facing the sea. To discover the sweet and delicatel aroma of the Liberica, we recommend it, toasted and ground, in small hand-cut bars of chocolate, each containing 4.5% of Liberica coffee.
Liberica coffee, the beans are particularly large and hard, must be peeled by hand, one by one.

In order to understand and be able to interpret the different aromas that can be found in a coffee, it is essential to have a clear idea of how it was handled between the time of harvest and the moment of roasting. Indeed, it is in this period of time that aromas, flavours, perfumes or defects develop.


Brief technical description of the methods of elaboration i have chosen for our coffee, how it is produced in general and why

WET PROCESSED, OR „WASHED“, identified by the letter (W)

The hardly-harvested coffee is immediately sorted and the skin and pulp are removed from the grain by a specific machine (wet milling).

What remains is a coffee bean wrapped in its tegument (parchment), coated by its firmly attached mucilage.

The mucilage should also be removed, and I prefer to do it in two steps:
First with a slight fermentation, which enriches the grain with its beautiful perfumes, while eliminating the fleshiest part of the mucilage.

Then by rubbing the grains together in running water "until the parchment sings".
Only then the coffee is clean and ready for drying.

After drying, the parchment is removed by the mechanical hulling process (dry milling). Then the coffee beans are categorized (sorted according to their size) and checked by hand, grain by grain.

At this stage, the coffee receives its grade and is theoretically ready for roasting, but still has a "green", herbaceous scent. By letting it rest in an appropriate environment – dry, fresh and ventilated – the herbaceous scent fades and the bean is enriched with fragrant and delicate aromas.

In large coffee productions (W), the mucilage, attached to the parchment, is instantly removed (by friction in water and with pressure) after depulping, and the coffee can be dried directly. So fewer steps, less cost, but the lack of fermentation also gives less complexity in aromas and fragrances.

DRY PROCESS, OR „NATURAL“, identified by the letter (N)

The hardly-harvested coffee is immediately sorted and selected with care. In this type of transformation the pulp plays a very important role in the development of aromas in the coffee bean, and must therefore be perfect.

After selection the fruit is spread in a thin layer on an open-air dryer and is continually stirred. Three days later the operation is continued on an artificially heated dryer. When the fruits are fully dry, they are stored to "finish ripening" (before refining) in a dry and ventilated environment.

During the drying process and the first refining, some of the pulp’s perfumes and colours migrate to the grain and thus transmit a delicate but well marked fruit aroma.

Following the first refining, the coffee is shelled, calibrated and selected manually, grain-by-grain. Only then it receives its definitive code and can return to the store for its maturation.

More details on dry processing (N):

Dry processing is the simpler one of the two production types, as the hardly-harvested coffee goes directly to drying. However, drying a whole coffee cherry (N) requires much more energy than simply drying the bean, surrounded only by its parchment (W). This is why in medium or large productions this method is eliminated from the very start. Usually, the dry process (N) is preferred by small producers with limited means, drying the coffee cherry in a summary manner spread on cement or earth, and then selling it directly (dried cherries).

As already mentioned, during the drying process (N) some of the pulp’s perfumes migrate through the thin parchment towards the coffee bean and add to its intrinsic aromas. The importance of this phenomenon is such that coffee cherries dried on the soil have (more or less pronounced according to the specific circumstances) the scents of the earth with which they were in contact. For this reason dry processed coffee (N) has become synonymous of very mediocre quality.

The perfumes of the pulp vary greatly from one coffee variety to another, and not all varieties lend themselves to this type of production.

On the other hand, when the aromas of the pulp perfectly match those of the grain, and the coffee is elaborated with care, accuracy and attention, the (N) gives a pleasure of unparalleled plenitude, as well as complex and fruity aromas.

In order to be able to judge in a clear, simple and unambiguous way in which the different types of production impact the same variety of coffee, grown on the same "terroir", we propose you GRANI.

The three varieties of Arabica, Grani CAT, Grani BB and Grani NM each one produced in both ways (W and N), give you the possibility to explore these complementary expressions!
 
Yours sincerely,
   Claudio Corallo

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