Marriage of Science and Art
In reality, coffee is a very complex product. It requires 13 chemical and physical variables to be professionally prepared. The science of coffee-making is then a multidisciplinary method including genetics, agronomy, botany, physics, mathematics, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, engineering and physiology, and many others. The "Science" is applying specific variables to the coffee roast, such as the fineness of grind, tamp pressure, brew pressure, temperature and time.
This highly-complex process starts with the growing process, where various factors influence the overall quality and chemical composition of the raw coffee bean: the location, altitude and weather of the plantation, the composition of the soil and its fertilization, and finally the cultivation, harvesting and drying methods used.
Maatouk applies the Coffee "art". It is when you understand the nuances of the tastes and aromas, when you are too sensitive to know exactly what to add and when to do it. The grind of the beans, the water quantity, the measurements of coffee, and the freshness of the coffee beans are also decisive aspects. Our personal touch as professionals added to the sensitive steps of coffee-making is part of this unexplainable art.
Roasting is the step where art and science get mixed together to transform green beans into dark scented coffee with its stimulating aroma and flavor. It is the most complex step in coffee production and at Maatouk, this process is heavily monitored by both instrumental quality control checks and experts armed with experience and talent.
Enormous roasting machines are used to carry out this stage. Large drums holding the coffee beans rotate over a flame, covering the coffee with hot air. The roasting process can be divided into three stages:
- In the drying phase, moisture is eliminated and both flavor and aroma are formed.
- The roasting phase consists of many chemical reactions resulting in many compounds responsible for the specific coffee taste.
- At last, the cooling phase brings the roasted coffee back to room temperature.
At Maatouk, beans are treated delicately, following only the cool air method leaving the precious aromas intact.
Like a sophisticated champagne house, Maatouk believes in producing consistent, unique, and high-end coffee blends for Lebanese, Arabic, brewed, and espresso preparation as well. Through the most consistent blend, Maatouk proves to be a cornerstone in maintaining the sole refined taste, cup after cup, year after year.
Because coffee is a natural product, its flavor and aroma tend to vary from one crop to another and from one region to another. To reach the same consistent taste in the final product, Maatouk blends different types of coffee together based on their different characteristics, while adjusting the amounts of each type to achieve the desired balance and signature taste. This complicated process requires skill combined with finesse and it is as much art as science.
Grinding rolls are used during the grinding of the coffee beans. The coffee beans are led between two rippled rolls turning in opposite directions. The distance between the rolls controls the coarseness of the ground from coarse to very fine as in the Turkish grind.
Oxygen is roasted coffee's most dangerous foe: when exposed to air, roasted coffee looses 40% of its aroma after only eight hours. Humidity is another vile enemy, risking flavor and causing mold.
Vacuum process extracts air from the pack and replaces it with inert gasses at a higher-than-atmospheric level of pressure. This method ensures to preserving the coffee for more than 2 years until preparation. At the same time, it makes coffee “age”, enhancing its aroma with time by causing its volatile compounds to mix with the oils in the blend. This is what characterizes the advanced vacuum packing. The flushed gas makes these aroma components return back into the coffee so they can be released in the cup. Just like a fine red wine aging, the vacuum process has a similar effect on coffee flavors.
Did you know?
From a small tiny seed undergoing harvest, fermentation, roasting, grinding, packaging, and distribution, to a valuable cup of coffee, the journey of coffee beans is impregnated with tradition, hard work, and passion. The outcome: different flavors and aromas…same delight. This is the impact coffee has been creating since the day of its birth.