Arabica beans from the highlands of Ethiopia form the basis for almost every variety of Dallmayr coffee. Situated in North East Africa, the country provides an ideal combination of fertile soil, high altitude and a benevolent climate. To this day, the cherries are harvested from coffee plants that grow wild in forests or are cultivated on small farms.
Working in close contact with the farmers, our experts visit locations to inspect the quality in person. Even when they are still growing on the bushes, the cherries hint at the quality of the beans inside, and ultimately of the coffee in the cup. Our experts buy only coffee that has ripened slowly and fully in high regions with a favourable climate and that has been carefully picked and prepared by hand. The coffee cherries are then ‘washed’ in a special process that also serves to enhance the qualities of the green coffee beans.
Back in Germany, our experts sample up to 400 cups of coffee every day to test different deliveries and to determine which blends should be used. The challenge consists in achieving the same taste profile for each variety of Dallmayr coffee year after year, despite variations in the quality of harvest. In this way, we can guarantee that your cup of coffee, will always have a delicious flavour.
It all begins with the sensory evaluation. Here, the pros evaluate the coffee using all their senses and taste up to 300 cups per day. The complex interplay between three fundamental criteria allows them to gain an overall impression of the coffee.
A coffee bean contains more than a thousand aromas. When it comes to smell, our noses enable us to differentiate between a vast number of nuances. This is in stark contrast to how our tongues allow us to perceive flavour. Our sense of taste is limited to sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Experts obtain an overall impression of a coffee through the interaction of its aroma and flavour, which means they use a combination of smell (aroma) and taste (with the tongue).
The word “body” describes the way that coffee is perceived in the mouth. To give you an idea of what this means, simply imagine how different water and milk feel in your mouth: the viscosity and fat content of the milk means that it has more body than water.
In a qualitative sense, acidity has nothing to do with sourness. Instead, it describes the fruity and tangy qualities of the coffee. A fine acidity is a soughtafter characteristic in coffee and a sign of a high-quality product. Acidity plays a particularly important role in our perception of arabica coffees. It lends the beans a certain radiance, freshness and dimension. If this acidity is missing, the coffee tends to taste dull.
Ethiopia has been considered the home of coffee since the 9th century. Whether in Brazil, Kenya, Colombia or India, all coffee varieties are descendents of those first wild plants from Ethiopia. It’s no wonder that experts consider coffee a true botanical treasure. Around 50 years ago, Konrad Werner Wille – Dallmayr’s first coffee expert and the company’s co-owner – rediscovered Ethiopian coffee: the coffee pioneer was travelling through the East African country on his search for the world’s best beans when, in the fertile southern provinces of Sidamo and Harrar, he came across beans of extraordinary quality. He wasted no time in importing the entire harvest to Germany. Today, Ethiopia is one of the most important coffee-growing countries.
Today, washed arabicas from Ethiopia give Dallmayr’s coffee varieties their characteristic flavour. As a roaster, we are the largest buyer of these original coffee varieties and ensure that we receive the best quality. To this very day, coffee is still harvested from plants that grow in the wild in forests or on small farms. Hardly any pesticides are needed for coffee grown in this way, and as a rule, only organic fertiliser is used.
Of all the different types of coffee, two are of particular importance: arabica (coffea arabica) and robusta (coffea canephora). These varieties make up 98 percent of the green coffee produced globally. Of the two, arabica is regarded as the more sophisticated in flavour; it is cultivated at altitudes of up to 2,200 metres and is harvested with meticulous care by hand. The higher the altitude, the cooler the average yearly temperature, which allows the coffee cherries to ripen more slowly. This gives them more time to develop their flavour, aroma and delicate acidic touch.
You normally start the morning in a good mood, with a cup of coffee. But what if it doesn’t taste good one day? The coffee itself might not be to blame. Only when it is prepared correctly is coffee an enjoyable drink. Did you use fresh water? How long has the packet been in your cupboard? Did you grind the beans using the right setting? Did you use the right amount of coffee? Or did you buy the wrong variety for your preferred method of preparation? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself if your coffee fails to live up to your expectations. Here we offer some useful tips and advice.