Seed extraction

In order to sell a wide range of high-quality coffees such as those produced by Attibassi, all stages of the production process need to be strictly monitored, especially those that take place in distant lands.

Only in this way can Attibassi supply cafés serving top quality coffee, the same quality that distinguishes the whole Co.ind family, which the brand is proud to be part of.

Seed extraction and subsequent processing determine the very quality of coffee, which is required for selling high-quality pods, capsules, ground coffee or coffee beans.

The stages of seed extraction

After harvesting, the precious seed contained in the coffee drupes can be extracted, but before doing this, two important steps are needed to ensure the high standard of Attibassi’s beans:

–       The drupes must be separated from leaves, twigs and small stones

–       Defruiting, i.e. the selection and sorting of berries to choose the ones that are sufficiently ripe for the next step, leaving out the green and rotten ones

The fruit is then separated from the seed, so that the bean remains protected by a pectin layer.

Once separated, the bean is washed and placed in the open air for a week, so that the heat of the sun dries the harvested beans. In some cases, it may also be necessary to polish the beans to remove the “silver skin”, the natural layer above the pectin. The procedure involves separating the beans obtained according to colour and size.

The separation of the pulp from the seed is a delicate phase. There are two basic methods: the dry process and the wet process.

Dry process

The dry process enables us to obtain so-called natural coffee.

There are four steps:

●     Cleaning/sieving

●     Drying

●     Hulling

●     Cleaning

If harvesting has been carried out by means of stripping, it is all the more important to clean the beans from impurities and foreign bodies.

The process normally involves sieving the cherries and then washing them with a strong jet of water; alternatively, the drupes can be immersed in tanks of running water.

After washing, the dry process begins: the cherries are dried in the sun, after being been placed on concrete patios.

Mixing at regular intervals allows all the cherries to be exposed to the dehydrating effect of sunlight: the fruits are left in the sun for between two and three weeks. In some areas, this process takes place by means of hot air in dryers for two or three days.

Once maximum dehydration has been achieved, they are placed inside hulling machines that release the bean from the skin, pulp and parchment (the film wrapped around the seed).

At this stage, the beans must be separated according to type and size, as they are not all of the same quality.

The dry process is the typical method used in water-poor regions such as West Africa and Brazil.

Wet process

The wet process enables us to obtain so-called washed coffee.

In this case, there are more steps:

●     Cleaning/washing

●     Maceration

●     Pulping

●     Fermentation

●     Washing

●     Drying

●     Hulling

The wet process is used especially if the coffee cherries have been picked using the picking technique, since the drupes need to be of consistent quality.

This process is more complicated than the previous one, but it ensures higher quality results: first of all, the cherries are placed inside tanks full of water to separate the ripe ones from the unripe or dry ones (cleaning phase).

The maceration phase, which takes place in special tanks, prepares the cherries for “pulping”: the cherries are placed in a machine that extracts the seeds, but still leaves some pulp on the seed. At this stage, fermentation takes place, which lasts from 24 to 36 hours and affects the taste of coffee: in this way, the seed and pulp are completely removed, followed by another washing phase to clean the beans more thoroughly.

The penultimate phase involves drying by means of exposure to sunlight or by using special drying machines.

Finally, the parchment layer wrapped around the seed is removed by means of a hulling machine.

There is also another method that is a cross between the two, known as “semi-wet”: some countries use this method to ensure better quality of the coffee beans.

The process consists of the following phases:

●     Cleaning

●     Maceration

●     Pulping

●     Washing

●     Drying

●     Peeling

Washed coffee and natural coffee

Natural coffee is obtained by the dry process, which separates the coffee beans from the parchment (a kind of second skin) and removes pulp residues.

It has a more intense colour, veering towards light blue for Arabica varieties and towards yellowish-green for Robusta varieties, since the final seed extraction process removes the parchment layer of the beans more effectively.

The beans thus extracted are of better quality since they are more uniform and their aromatic properties are intact despite having been processed.

Among coffee producing countries, Brazil normally uses the dry process method, whereas Central American countries, Colombia, Ethiopia and Kenya mainly extract seeds with the wet process.

Washed coffee is the result of the wet process: it is highly appreciated due to the quality of the coffee and its processes, which involve continuous sorting and washing and the separation of the beans from the pulp.

For example, this type of coffee comes from Colombia, Tanzania, Kenya and Central America.

Coffee types resulting from the wet process are known as “milds”.