By professionals for professionals
Would you like to learn more about coffee, tea and cocoa in order to inspire even more enthusiasm for hot drinks in your guests? If so, that’s what the J.J. Darboven Academy is for. At our locations in Hamburg and Sauerlach, near Munich, we offer our customers from the catering and hotel industries various courses on the subject of hot drinks – from extensive basic knowledge to sophisticated barista tricks – to impress your guests and increase your turnover. Register yourself or your employees to take advantage of our versatile training offer and impress your customers with your new knowledge about the origin, differences, preparation and flavours of all kinds of hot drinks. Our trainers are looking forward to meeting you!
Arabica beans are ideally cultivated at high elevations of around 600 to 1200 metres above sea level, which gives them a particularly high level of quality. The Robusta bean, on the other hand, is planted in the lowlands at altitudes of only 300 to 800 metres above sea level.
These regions offer the perfect conditions for cultivating coffee plants. A balanced climate with average temperatures between 18 and 25 °C is a prerequisite for a high-yield coffee harvest, while extreme temperature fluctuations and recurring temperatures of above 30 °C or below 13 °C are detrimental to growth. Also harmful are too much wind and sunshine, or hard and less permeable soil.
The coffee plant delivers the greatest yield when it is between six and eight years old, with the production volume declining sharply after about 20 years. On average, the plants reach a yield volume of around one to two pounds of green coffee per year.
Over the years, various harvesting methods have developed.
The single hand method of picking brings the highest quality, as only the ripest coffee cherries are picked individually by hand. However, this harvesting method is obviously very time-consuming when you consider that 2.5 kg of coffee cherries have to be harvested for just 500 g of coffee beans. This type of harvesting is primarily used for precious Arabica beans.
Another method is strip picking, which is another hand-picking method, but one that produces lower-quality results due to the fact that all fruits, regardless of the degree of ripeness, are stripped from the shrub in one go. Robusta coffee and Brazilian and Ethiopian Arabica coffee are both harvested according to this principle. In order to manage the huge Brazilian coffee plantations, picking machines are used to comb the branches of the coffee trees and drop the coffee cherries onto a collector. Before the picked fruits can go into processing, they must be cleaned of dirt, leaves and the like.
On the coffee plant grow the coffee cherries, in which the coffee beans are hidden.
The harvested raw beans are first dried or fermented – and then roasted. The most common type of processing is wet processing, since it is said that this method brings out the high-quality aroma and taste particularly well. The flesh of the beans is removed and the beans are stored in a water basin for 12–36 hours. The residual moisture is then reduced to 12% in drying areas.
The first steps still take place in the countries of origin. Roasting, on the other hand – because it is so crucial in producing a higher coffee quality – is then taken over by coffee roasters such as J.J. Darboven.
The roasting process has a decisive influence on the quality of a coffee. That is why we at J.J. Darboven place the highest value on the roasting process.
Coffee is an evergreen plant that grows as a shrub or small tree. There are about 90 types of coffee plants in the world, but few have any significance for the coffee we drink every day. Biologists speak of the “Coffea” genus, from the Rubiaceae family, which has its origin in the Ethiopian province of Kaffa.
The shrubs of the coffee plant are up to 4 metres high and have oval leaves with white flowers arranged in a cluster. In each stone fruit of the plant, called coffee cherries, there are two seeds – the coffee beans we all know. Depending on the type of coffee plant, the fruits ripen 7 to 11 months after fertilisation and undergo a colour change from green to yellow to red during this time.
Of the approximately 90 different coffee plant species, C. arabica (Arabica coffee) and C. canephora (Robusta coffee), both of which originate from Africa, are the most commonly used. The varieties C. liberica and C. excelsa are used for coffee production too but seldom.
The flowers of the coffee shrub are white, with multi-flower clusters forming on the plant. After fertilisation, these are transformed into the so-called coffee cherry. This is a stone fruit, and the two seeds it contains are the coffee beans we know.
Coffee originally comes from tropical Africa and Madagascar, but is now widespread in all tropical and subtropical regions.
Coffee isn’t just coffee. In addition to the Arabica and Robusta varieties, the respective growing regions – the so-called provenances – also have a major influence on the aroma and appearance of a coffee.
Almost all coffee roasters blend their coffees not only for cost and taste reasons, but also to compensate for natural quality fluctuations and create a desired taste profile. Beans from a wide variety of provenances can be mixed together to achieve the desired character.
The two most important coffee species, Arabica and Robusta, differ in taste, appearance and price. Accordingly, each is also suitable for different areas of application. Robusta, for example, should not be omitted from certain coffees, e.g. espresso, since the beans have a low level of acidity.
With a 61% share of coffee production, Arabica is the best-known coffee plant of them all. Arabica only thrives at altitudes extending to the vegetation line. This is why the plant is often referred to as “highland coffee”.
In South and Central American highlands and East Africa, it can develop an often elegant, subtle and complex aroma.
Tropical areas are optimal for the growth of the Arabica plant, as they offer perfect rain and temperature conditions. This allows Arabica coffee beans to ripen relatively evenly and to be harvested on average once or twice a year.
Coffea Canephora differs greatly from the Arabica plant in taste and, unlike Arabica, displays colourful beans. It is known for its bitter and stringent note and is therefore not suited to every taste. It also has a higher caffeine content in the bean. In total, Robusta accounts for around 25% of coffee production worldwide.
The coffee plant also grows in tropical areas. It finds its optimal growing conditions at a height of 200 to 600 metres.