The Plant

Coffee is a shrub belonging to the Rubiaceae family, to the genus Coffea, which includes many species, but just two of them are widely grown:

the species Arabica and the species Robusta (the others are Liberica and Excelsa).

The shrub can become more than 10 m high but it is generally stopped at 3 m by pruning. It produces fruit from once a year at least to a harvest every 7-8 months, depending on farming conditions.

Normally Robusta species is more resistant to plant diseases and a single plant is slightly more fruitful than Arabica, this is why Robusta plants are cheaper than Arabica plants.

Coffea Arabica:

60% of world production
Cultivation from 500 to 2200 metres above sea level
Need for a temperature between 15 to 30 degrees Celsius
Flowering every 3/5 months, depending on areas
Harvest every 4-6 months
From 0.8% to 1.7% of caffeine
18% of essential oils

Organoleptic properties: a little astringent, sour bitter, medium body, lasting fine-grained crema, rounded and generally lasting aroma.

Main characteristics: chocolaty, almond, nut, pulp fruit, citrus fruit, cereals, bread crust (if excessively fresh)


Elongated bean flattened at the sides

Tirregular cut

Coffea Robusta:

40% of world production
Cultivated from 0 to 600 metres above sea level
From 1.8 to 2.8% of caffeine
8-9% of essential oils

Organoleptic properties: astringent, lasting and intense bitter, a little sour, full-bodied, coarse-grained, thick and short-lasting crema. Intense, lasting, sometimes aggressive, not sweet aroma.

Main characteristics: grassy (if fresh), earthy, woody, spicy, pure cocoa, nut, straw.


More rounded shape bean

regular cut

Caracolito peculiarity:

Observing the beans you can see that some of them are pearl-shaped, this depends on a genetic malformation where two beans are joined. In any case they do not have distinguishing features worthy of note.


Where you can find coffee:

Coffee homeland is Ethiopia, from there it was transplanted to the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen. Then, from 1720 coffee plants reach the Americas.

The coffee plant needs a lot of rain and a hot climate (never going below 20°).

This is the reason why it bears fruit only in the geographical area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

Nowadays the main production areas are South and Central America, Mexico, the Antilles, Eastern Africa, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Cameroon, Madagascar, India, Indonesia, Vietnam.


Coffee preparation methods


There are different ways to drink coffee. Here you can find the most important and common ones.


This is probably the most spread system in the world. The coffee used is coarse ground, light-roasted in North America and dark-roasted in France.

You simply have to pour boiling water on the coffee dose contained in special paper or fabric filters and it falls by percolation in an underlying pot. You obtain mild and not full-bodied cups, suitable for large consumption. This system does not use more than 20% of coffee components in cups of 150/200ml.




A dose of coarse ground coffee is poured into a pot of boiling water. It is left to infuse for 3-5 minutes and then filtered.

Specific pots, which also function for infusions, are normally used (see picture).



Turkish coffee

It is made with a special pot called cezve (see picture) where you boil water and, once it has reached the boiling point, you pour very finely ground coffee (which is often flavoured with orange peel and spices) and sugar. Then you leave it boiling again. The result of this method is very original, strong, dense and, despite the sugar, bitter.


Turkish coffee


The coffee machine used has three parts: a boiler where water is brought to the boil, a section with a filter for ground coffee and a third part which collects the drink.

The distinguishing feature is that water does not have outlets, so it gathers steam pressure and goes up to the second section while pressure filtering coffee in about a minute.

You get a drink with a strong taste and an intense aroma.


Neapolitan coffee


It is done with a special coffee pot formed by a basket filter that will be filled with medium ground and very roasted coffee; a base filled with water and put to boil and a second base (having a spout) on top.

Once the boiling point has been reached, the pot is turned upside down so that water goes down to the second base, filtering coffee.

 Neapolitan coffee


It is not common in Italy and more appreciated abroad. The procedure is very simple: you just need to melt the preparation in hot water, about 2/3 gr of product per cup of 150/200ml.

It can be freeze-dried (better and more expensive), which looks like the one in the picture, or it can be obtained with the spray-drying method, in which case it is powder.





It is a very concentrate drink, with an intense taste, body and aroma, obtained by using specialised equipment.

The necessary equipment is an espresso machine together with a pump and a water softener system.

During extraction, water starts its journey and it is decalcified until it reaches 2 ranges of hardness; then the pump with a 9-bar pressure sends it to the heat exchangers and water reaches a temperature of 88/92°. It then reaches, having this strength and temperature, the infusers that are in contact with a 7.8-8 gram dose of finely ground coffee and, from here, the espresso cup. Infusion time has to be 20/25 seconds and the drink has to flow down into a cup being warm, even if not warmer than 65°.


 espresso bar

Perfect Espresso


Hazel-reddish crema
Good texture with 3-4 mm of thickness, fine-grained and uniform
Thick and lasting crema (2-3 minutes)
Perfectly balanced taste and aroma, long lasting taste

Ground coffee dose around 7.5 – 8 grams
Water temperature 90°
9 bar water pressure
Adequately fine grinding
Pressing of 20 kg
Cup volume of 25 cc
Output time about 25 sec.


 Perfect Espresso

Over extracted Espresso


Dark crema, with light marks and bubbles
Little texture and thickness, with a central hole
Short lasting crema (1-2 minutes)
Strong, bitter, astringent taste, with little aroma, lasting taste

Possible causes:

  • Ground coffee dose higher than 8 grams
  • Water temperature higher than 92°
  • Water pressure lower than 9 bar
  • Too fine grinding
  • Pressing of over 20 kg
  • Cup volume of more than 30 cc
  • Output time longer than 30 sec.
 Over extracted Espresso

Under extracted Espresso


Beige very light crema
Light cream texture, with large bubbles
Short lasting crema (less than 1 min)
Light body, watery, with light taste and not lasting, light aroma

Possible causes:

  • Ground coffee dose lower than 7 grams
  • Water temperature lower than 88°
  • Water pressure higher than 9 bar
  • Too coarse grinding
  • Too light pressing
  • Cup volume of less than 25 cc
  • Output time shorter than 20 sec.
 Under extracted Espresso