Looking at Lavazza
I often talk about my Gaggia Platinum Swing Up espresso machine and the drinks that it can produce. One important factor in creating the “perfect” cup of coffee is the bean used in the machine. One of my favorite coffees is Lavazza Super crema , which true to its name produces the thickest crema on my espresso shots. Lavazza is known for being Italy’s favorite coffee, a tradition which began in 1895 with Luigi Lavazza.
The organization has grown to include four production plants all operating in Italy:
- Settimo Torinese, the roasting plant situated on the outskirts of Turin
- The Verres plant in Valle d’Aosta, also dedicated to roasting and packaging
- Mokapak plant, located in Gattinara, near Vercelli, produces the Lavazza “Espresso Point”, “BLUE” and “A Modo Mio” machines
- Mokadec, located in Pozzilli (Isernia), is dedicated to the decaffeination process of Lavazza coffee.
The Coffee Beans:
Each year, the Lavazza Group buys over two million bags of green coffee from over 50 countries, in accordance to strict quality standards. The Lavazza factory includes two storage towers with 134 silos containing different varieties of coffee. Storage capacity is 5,000 tons. The green coffee is loaded automatically through bag-cutters or tanks and is then sorted to remove powder, stones or other foreign matter.
As the green beans arrive to the Lavazza plant, they are first processed in the laboratory. The green beans are checked and tests are performed on each batch to access quality. The laboratory is responsible for selecting the beans, creating the blends, defining and checking the quality standards of the batches of the green coffee that have been purchased.
The Art of Roasting:
The utmost attention is given, to determine the body and acidity level of the bean, which determines the flavor of the beverage in the cup. The beans undergo a metamorphosis in the roasting phase: high temperatures have a direct result on the aroma to the bean. Here is a look at the results:
- At 212°F the beans are golden in color and smell somewhat like toasted bread, a fragrance that will quickly turn into the sublime aroma of coffee.
- When the temperature rises to more than 302°-356°F the beans become larger, lustrous and brown.
- Roasting reaches its optimum level at 392-446°F and the coffee takes on its distinctive taste.
- At this point, the coffee is removed from the roaster and is cooled quickly with currents of cold air.
After roasting, any broken or damaged beans are discarded. Another important phase is the grinding of the beans. The grinding process can have an impact on the overall quality of the cup of coffee produced. The Lavazza plant grinds between 4,409 and 6,613 lbs of roasted coffee per hour. The process includes applying micrometric adjustments to guarantee each batch is specifically ground based on how the coffee will be brewed.
After roasting, the product is removed from the roaster and is quickly treated again to remove bits of coffee. Prior to being vacuum-packed in bags with one-way valves, samples are tested to ensure product meets all performance expectations. The product is then placed into the appropriate packaging for the specific type of coffee to be retailed including:
- Ground products in pods
- Whole-bean products
- Ground products in flexible packets or cans
With over 110 years in the business and still innovating, Lavazza has maintained its position as Italy’s favorite coffee. If you have not had an opportunity to taste a Lavazza blend, I would suggest treating yourself to one of these fine coffees. I hope you also find a favorite for your kitchen.