For the first time in my blog welcome my best friend and co-blogger: Sarah Melamed in a guest post about coffee. Sarah is usually the herbal tea type while I am the devoted espresso drinker but now and then she enjoys a good cappuccino. Here are her impressions about one of Israel's leading coffee factories.
After a visit to Landwer's coffee factory in Holon my hair and clothes were infused with the aroma of deep, rich espresso. When I stepped out I was surprised people didn't speak to me in Italian, mistaking me for a barista "Un caffè, per favore!"
Indeed, the only place you'll find a comparative espresso is in a café in Rome, where coffee is not just a drink but a ritual of life. In recent years Israel has emulated Italy's coffee culture with many new cafes opening around the country as well as numerous products, from coffee makers to a variety of grinds, for those who prefer to drink at home. The Israeli consumer has become increasingly selective, appreciating the stronger brews which were once considered unpalatable.
|Roasting coffee beans|
At the forefront of the Israeli coffee scene is Landwer, established in 1919, providing quality coffee both for the home brewer and in coffee houses throughout the country.
The Landwer facility supervises the coffee making process from the selection of the beans, roasting, grinding and finally vacuum packaging. Each of the steps is done in a highly controlled environment essential to develop and retain the complexities and flavor locked in the coffee bean. Stringent quality control follows the entire process to ensure the integrity of the product.
|Quality control and experimental lab at the Landwer Factory, would love to work here!|
The best part of the visit was making my own cappuccino using their industrial coffee machine. A barista I am not but now I fully appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making a beautiful cup of coffee. Even if you start out with the highest quality ingredients and state of the art equipment, it is completely possible to make a mess of things. The number one enemy is air which oxidizes the coffee, zapping its flavor and blunting its taste. This means that the speed is essential to outwit those pesky oxygen molecules to ensure a full bodied espresso with crema, a layer of foam that is the hallmark of well prepared coffee.
|The baristas make a cup of espresso|
And even if the espresso is "perfect" from bean to cup, there are those who will dislike it for being overwhelmingly strong. Recognizing this Landwer offers several products that cater to different tastes. For black coffee aficionados there are three flavors to choose from, the mellower morning flavor, original and the stronger espresso style black coffee. For professionals and also what is served at Landwer coffee houses throughout the country there are two varieties available, Espresso Classic and Espresso Ristretto. In the coming months Espresso Supremo will also be available with its new retro packaging.
|from left to right: Morning, Orignal and Espresso flavored black coffee|
A few weeks ago I visited a Landwer café in Rehovot with my friend Yael for leisurely breakfast and cappuccino. Although there are numerous coffee bar chains in Israel, Landwer is the only company that believes in individuality and this extends to its coffee houses as well. Every establishment has its own décor and atmosphere and not an industrial clone of the other. What you can experience in all of them, however, is some truly excellent coffee.
|Landwer Cafe in Rehovot, outdoor seating|
· Coffee is the second largest commodity in the world. What's the first?
· Coffee is indigenous to Ethiopia
· The term "Turkish coffee" in Hebrew originally referred to the grain size not its origin. Which makes sense since tea is very popular in Turkey.
· Landwer coffee moved to Israel in 1933 from Germany and opened its first shop on Allenby road in Tel Aviv.
· The coffee fruit ripens from green to bright red and its seed (bean) is a shade of olive green before roasting.
· There are two major varieties of coffee, Arabica and Robusta which are often combined to make a blend.
· The espresso machine was invented by Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy in 1884