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From Harvest to Cup

BUYING THE RAW BEANS:

Using tradition, skill, and advanced technologies, Lavazza transforms green coffee into the optimum product that is a cup of espresso. Careful and systematic control over the entire processing cycle, from the harvest to the moment that the coffee reaches the consumer, assures the high standard of quality for which Lavazza is known around the World.

Lavazza Q.C.
Quality Control of green coffee

The consistent high quality of every cup of Lavazza espresso is insured by the Departments of: Quality Control, Reasearch & Development, and Scientific Research, which are in constant touch with suppliers and outside organizations. In addition, the entire transportation and production process, from storage silos to roasting and packaging, is computer-controlled to insure that all pre-established parameters are met.

Lavazza manages over 1.8 million sacks (60 kg. each) of raw coffee annually. The supply is regulated by a group of experts in each of the main coffee-producing areas (South and Central America, Africa, and Indonesia).

Coffee, like all agricultural products, is subject to variations due to crop and harvest conditions. In an attempt to minimize such variances, Lavazza selects raw coffees at their sources and sets very particular and firm requirements for purchasing each lot of coffee. Before buying any lot, Lavazza's Quality Control Department examines and evaluates samples.

Checks are also carried out in the port of origin to prevent deterioration during the voyage. Lavazza once again examines the coffee when it arrives in Italy before allowing it to be used.



Lavazza Tasters

PROCESSING:

When the coffee finally arrives at the Lavazza plant in Turin, it is cleaned (to remove foreign bodies) and is color-selected (to eliminate inferior beans). This step is vitally important, since only 50 - 70 beans are used to make one small cup of espresso. Therefore, each bean must be perfect, as one bad bean could spoil the whole cup. Unripe beans, called "green beans" have a bitter and astringent taste. Overripe and fermented beans, called "waxy beans", may taste of alcohol of sulfur. Black beans, which come from dead seeds that were attacked by plant diseases, leave heavy flavors. The only way to completely eliminate these defective beans is to select the raw coffee using an electronic optical scanner. Each scanner at Lavazza's plant is able to process about 300 single beans per second.

As far as the roasting process, Lavazza uses particularly sophisticated roasting equipment that favors the maximum development of the properties of brewed coffee. These roasting machines operate so that the coffee beans do not come into direct contact with the heat source, but are heated by a powerful temperature-controlled hot air blower. Each bean literally "floats" in the superheated airstream and roasts perfectly even without touching the scorching metal of the wall of the more common rotating drum roasters.

For the grinding process, Lavazza uses large, multi-roll mills which can be regulated electronically. This highly technological machine enables Lavazza to maintain the proper grinding degrees determined by Lavazza's laboratory and tasters. Samples taken after grinding are examined by using air sieves to measure grain size. Both particle size and quantity can be rapidly determined by use of laser beams.


LAVAZZA TURIN PLANT
255 Workers employed as follows:
  • 20 Master Roasters
  • 180 Packaging
  • 55 Maintenance
Daily Processing: 750,000 lbs
Air Roasters: 12
Packaging Lines: 24
PACKAGING AND TESTING:

The most sensitive phase of the production process is packaging. Roasted coffee is perishable and should be kept from coming into contact with light, moisture and above all, oxygen that exists in the atmosphere. The substances which give the beans their flavor and aroma are volatile, and any deterioration in these properties can be traced to prolonged contact betwen the essential oils of the coffee and either light or oxygen. When this happens, oxidation occurs, releasing unpleasant, rancid odors that overpower coffee's naturally pleasant aroma.

Therefore, coffee beans are packed into vacuum-sealed packages immediately after roasting. Carbon dioxide (CO2) produced in the roasting process (representing 90% of the gases formed this way) diffuses into the empty spaces inside the pack and builds up pressure that could result in the bag bursting. To avoid this, a valve is bonded in the bag, which lets CO2 escape, but prevents oxigen from entering.

The roasted and packed blends, both beans and ground coffee, are checked periodically by consumer panels. The panels, aided by laboratory staff and market research experts, meet regularly. The aim of these tests is to verify that the sensory characteristics of Lavazza products remain consistent over time.

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