Immediately after entering Caffe River we were treated to a shot of espresso (pronounced ESSpresso not EXpresso). The shot was very bitter and quite overwhelming to my tastebuds. Taking the advice of adding sugar did help balance out the bitterness but the difference in taste was not as drastic as I had hoped it would be. We were then quickly moved into a small room where samples from different sellers are tested for quality.
This room contained many instruments such as a small roaster, a toxin detector, and an instrument that can measure the amount of humidity within a bean. Initially, I did not realize the need to detect humidity in a coffee bean. It now makes sense that as a bean is roasted the water within will evaporate and the bean will decrease in size, so a bean with a high humidity level is not going to be the best quality.This room also contained a wall of samples and a jar of coffee cherries.
While I was aware that coffee beans come from the inside of a fruit (thanks to Dr. Halterman) I had never seen a coffee cherry in person. I was able to look at the dried coffee cherries that were brought into Italy by one of Caffe Rivers’ suppliers. They were a deep red color and similar in texture to any other dried fruit you may have seen (raisins, dried cranberries, etc.).Now I’ll start to talk about the best part of this experience, the actual coffee roasting.
This is a photo of the coffee being manually checked for the roast level. This batch of coffee was a medium roast also know as City roast. This means the beans will be roasted through the first crack and will be cooled just before the second crack occurs. While I was expecting to be hit in the face with an overwhelming coffee aroma that did not happen. In fact, I could not smell much of the coffee at all. Next, we moved onto the packaging portion of the tour. This was probably the least interesting part. My interest was peaked with the roasting and I was starting to get bored.
We were then told that Caffe River donates all of the broken coffee (seen above) to charity. While I know that it may have only be financial strategy, it still makes me feel good to know that this company is giving back. With one more shot of espresso, we were sent on our way having learned the ins and outs of coffee roasting.