“Made on Earth: Coffee”. The first episode of the new BBC series, broadcast for the first time in September 2019. What an incredible experience to be interviewed by the BBC and welcome the broadcaster into our laboratory, to showcase the Italian culture of artisan coffee roasting on the world stage!
First stop in Antigua, for visiting some coffee shops and tasting filter coffees brewed in Chemex and V60, roasted by domestic micro-roastery companies. Very good!
Then, I moved in Guatemala City for attending the “Producer & Roaster Forum”; a special occasion for meeting coffee producers from this area, sharing with them opinions and news, and meet new people.
After these PR actions, it was time for coffee cupping sessions! Some special coffees, very particular and rare for their great aromatic aspects. Once again, I realized how unique are these places for producing Specialty Cffees; terroir and altitude, but also the accurate production techniques are the real advantages for realizing special products.
From Guatemala City to Honduras, it takes a while (or just about…)! So, I took a ride from Arnold Paz and I visited once again his Farm (Finca San Josè) in Santa Barbara dept. It is always a pleasure to taste his coffees and know more about his enthusiasm for his work. I have a very good relationship with Arnold, not only for business (thanks to this, we receive from him some special microlots as exclusivities) but also a friendly relationship.
In compliance with EU Regulation 2017/2158 establishing reference levels for acrylamide in food and continuing to observe the more outdated EC Regulation 2005/123 for maximum levels of ochratoxin A in food products, Torrefazione Caffè Lelli has carried out new analyses and updated those already done to identify the levels of the two elements in its range of coffees.
The analyses, carried out by a laboratory specialized in the detection of these substances in roasted coffee, demonstrate and specify quantities well below the maximums set out by EU regulations.
At the same time, analyses of the caffeine levels in all Blends and Single Origins in the range have also been requested.
Italian-style espresso is true, concentrated coffee which delights and pleases consumers.
Intense pressure and high temperatures make it possible to extract the majority of the beans’ flavours and aromas. All of our blends are best suited to use in an espresso machine, but for something truly special, we’ve created Arabica Cru. Italian espresso preparation is undoubtedly the most technically complex method, as it requires a high degree of professionalism and training and absolute respect for the rules governing the equipment used (espresso machines and coffee grinders).
Only the right methods will result in the perfect cup of espresso.
First and foremost, espresso is made exclusively with professional machinery that can tolerate 1-1.2 bars of boiler pressure, making it possible to reach a supply temperature of 90-92° C, associated with a 9-bar output pressure.
The coffee beans should be ground to order so that, once measured, 25 ml of coffee is produced in 25 seconds as the result of uniform, robust pressure.
Home-brewed coffee has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. You can now recreate the taste and pleasure of espresso at home thanks to innovative automatic or semi-automatic “bean-to-cup” coffee makers.
We are talking about a real ‘barista-style coffee experience’, using fresh whole beans purchased in small quantities from high-end specialists to allow you to brew espresso to your personal preferences or to whip up a great cappuccino just like they do at your favourite local café, ready in a few seconds but from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Thanks to technological advances and increasingly attractive design, coffee-shop espresso can be enjoyed at home in just a few easy steps, without a large time commitment and without the need for barista training or the unnecessary waste generated by coffee pods.
Leonardo Lelli, how have things been going lately in the company that bears your name?
For the past 20 years we have set ourselves apart by our passion for continuous study and by offering a range of products that brings micro-roasters to the forefront. To stay up to date, we travel the world, especially my sister Lisa and I, visiting plantations in the equatorial belt where we can study the raw material directly. We then deepen our knowledge on new extraction methods and materials, focusing on important and central details such as the best-performing equipment, the water to be used and how it must be purified to extract the coffee in the best way.
In collaboration with some manufacturers, we are also analysing and investigating new technologies on professional machines to study the so-called “pressure profiles” for espresso, in order to highlight different nuances in the cup according to the fundamental variables that are heat, pressure and extraction time. These variables can now be recreated independently thanks to new machines that enhance the aromatic aspect and smoothness. We want to be even closer to our customers not only during the sales stage but also in after-sales assistance, and, above all, in spreading knowledge about the product, thanks to training and education courses to help them respond to an end consumer who today is much more aware than in the past of how to make a perfect cup of coffee.
What are the new coffee varieties you have launched?
Our most recent variety, already on the market, is the Cru “Honduras San José” by Finca San José. This specialty coffee, a product to which we have the exclusive rights, is the result of the relationship we have created with the Honduran producer Arnold Paz. We met him in 2015 during one of our trips with “SCA – Specialty Coffee Association”. In 2017 he came to visit us at our roasting plant to participate in the second edition of a workshop aimed at our customers as well as many “coffee lovers”. That meeting, like the first one in 2014 that we organized with the Brazilian producer Daterra, was an opportunity to introduce his world and his company directly to customers and aficionados and, at the same time, for a producer focused on exportation, it was a way to better get in touch with roasters like us to whom he can “entrust” micro-batches exclusively. At the end of each meeting we always arrange a technical tasting. We are curious to discover small new producers but with high quality, seeking out specialty coffees like these.
Who are your customers and how are they responding to your products?
Until a few years ago, catering was our focus. Today, the world of cafés is developing to such an extent that it is a very stimulating target, especially for those of us who offer niche products. Following the example of many producers established abroad in particular, we hear more and more talk about the “Third Wave of Coffee”. It is a phenomenon that involves a new generation of coffee shops: places for socializing where it is possible to spend some time without hasty consumption, sipping and enjoying while sitting in peace, where you can choose from a wide range of coffee with different origins, made in a Chemex or with a cold brew system, each appropriate for a different time of day. Not only is there more preparation by baristas as far as the raw material is concerned, there is also more attention paid to the different extraction methods and new technologies that allow you to make the most of every cup of coffee, whether espresso or filtered. In this field, we as a craft roasting company are able to offer a diversified range of high-level products, supporting our customers’ choice to satisfy every request.
How are you doing in the foreign market?
Abroad we try to propose first of all blends, as well as crus and specialty coffees, since Italian blends are always very appreciated in the world, as is our roasting, and set themselves apart by their particular smoothness and balance. In order to be ever closer to new foreign markets, we have decided to include the Spanish and German languages on our website, two countries from which we are receiving new interest and requests.
What better sign of a warm welcome than opening the doors of your house to host a guest? And with it, offering enjoyable company, amusement, entertainment and good taste? That’s the spirit of Ci Sei?!, when the old town of Riccione opens its doors to gourmets, tourists, and fellow citizens for two days of socialising in the name of good food. The businesses, shops and boutiques of Corso Fratelli Cervi will open their doors to host talented cooks as they whip up dishes with products offered by those very same shopkeepers. In the meantime, outdoors, along the streets and squares, passers-by can taste wine, coffee and other hand-crafted specialities, listen to great live music and take in a bit of entertainment. The simple, familiar essence of the old town will really be felt thanks to its architecture and the spirit of the people who live and work there. From 7pm onwards.
The 39th international trade show dedicated to ice cream, desserts, baked goods and coffee at the fairgrounds in Rimini, Italy.
Each year, this event gains increased importance for the world of coffee, to the point that it now hosts the Italian barista championships and other coffee-related events.
We will be participating alongside DM Italy, offering tasters of our coffee made using various methods: from espresso to filter coffee and percolator brews, using the equipment offered by DM Italia, the Italian distributor of the world’s most prestigious food service and hospitality industry brands.
Taking on Peru’s high altitudes to reach the coffee plantations was the hardest part! From 1600 to 1700 metres above sea level, with some crossings going up as high as 4300 m, travel was complicated due to trails and roads that were often unpaved. In an off-road vehicle, it can take an hour or more just to cover five miles! Road conditions are a big problem for small cooperatives, which generally use mules to transport coffee cherries from high-altitude plantations to the nearest beneficio (the location on the coffee farm where freshly-harvested coffee cherries are brought to start the first step in the process).
The people are generous and welcoming and, despite their rather modest homes, they welcome you with incredible dignity, always happy to share a meal with guests. In exchange, I taught them how to use a moka coffee pot, something they had never used before. I was in Cusco, at 3400 m above sea level. Reaching 2400 m to admire Machu Picchu was the biggest thrill of all. It was astonishing – it literally takes your breath away!