Michele Battista Roasting Plant stretches on a 5000 square metres area and it complies with the most advanced environmental and safety standards.
The area is well connected and easily accessible; the plant is actually close to the ring road of Bari and soon reached after turning off at Triggiano exit when driving towards Brindisi-Lecce. The building is also fairly new, as it was started in 2004.
The plant is equipped with one silo for raw coffee, one roaster with a production rate of 500/600 kg per hour, a number of silos for roasted coffee beans and ground coffee, and different packaging lines working on several sizes and shapes.
The Battista Roasting company was created by a small entrepreneur called Giuseppe Battista, who set up in business in Triggiano, his home town, together with his wife. It was 1940 and his business premises were located in the centre of town, on the main road Michelangelo Buonarroti, which soon became the meeting point for those who could not resist the pleasure of tasting a good coffee.
At the beginning, the company was only involved in the production and sale of raw coffee, yet after the war, the entrepreneur bought a wooden 5 kg “roaster” and started roasting his first coffee beans. This activity is actually an art for those working in this field. The roasting of coffee beans is the most difficult and decisive activity for coffee producers. The beans need to be roasted at the right temperature and for the necessary time; not one degree more, not one second less, and it takes all the knowledge and expertise of a great craftsman like Giuseppe Battista to perform this operation. Very soon the entrepreneur achieved successful results, increasing the number of customers as well as production. The old roaster was replaced by a modern and efficient machine. The small roasting company started changing, Giuseppe worked harder to constantly improve the quality of his products and offer always tastier and more refined blends. The entrepreneur moved first to Via Casalino in Triggiano, then in 1978 he moved to the plant on the way to San Giorgio.
Giuseppe has now retired, leaving the company to his family in order to enjoy a pleasant and peaceful old age. The company is currently equipped with the most up-to-date and technologically advanced machinery, as well as a small office building with well lit and comfortable rooms. Yet among the hive of activities the company deals with, it still sticks to the spirit of the craftsman who is deeply in love with his work; as a matter of fact, Michele Battista along with his sons Giuseppe and Mirko, still roast the coffee the way grandfather Giuseppe used to, thus keeping up the old tradition the company was built on. The company relies on a wide network of sales agents who take care of the Cafés, the Organized Distribution and the Vending Sector, with directly and indirectly managed logistics.
ichele Battista is among the earliest coffee roasting companies with the most ancient tradition in the field and has been working in southern Italy since 1940. The family has always been devoted to the constant hard-work that leads to high quality and service in the coffee field; the company mission is actually aimed at spreading the espresso tradition, which is meant technically as the highest expression of the coffee bean qualities, whereas it holistically refers to the unique cheerful moment to enjoy the pleasure of taste and aroma. The values our mission is inspired and led by are social ethics and responsibility, in order to achieve respect for everybody through honesty and straightforwardness. As a support to the social effort, the Battista family has always been concerned with quality and excellence, because coffee is our work but mainly our passion.
The creation and preparation of a premium quality coffee blend starts with the careful selection of the best growing regions and ends with the preparation at home or at the café. The company has achieved an unquestionable experience in selecting and acquiring the best qualities of coffee, along with their perfect roasting and always timely distribution in the Ho.Re.Ca sector.
After years of careful attention to the quality and customer care, Michele Battista Roasting Company has now achieved a product and market knowledge few can boast in this sector. The success of the company has to be traced back to small particular factors that yielded a strategic advantage, such as:
- Creativity in the constant search for processes, products and new collaborations;
- Flexible and adaptable attitude in dealing with customers and their satisfaction;
- Technical expertise acquired after sixty years of roasting activities always inspired by the Italian tradition, and supported by research, devotion and passion
Espresso was born as a completely Italian product. As a matter of fact, both the methodology of production of the drink and the industrial production of Espresso coffee machines spread in Italy as an improvement of a prototype presented at the Paris International Exposition of 1855.
In coffee brewing, the hot water was already known for centuries but at the end of the last century there was the necessity to create an equipment able to make coffee instantly in order to produce a product without the presence of dust.
A lot of people tried to engage this enterprise, but prototypes aside, the first company that launched into market and on an industrial scale, a machine capable of working under pressure was the Italian Bezzera in 1901. It was the first example of coffee machine and had obvious limits: the pressure was given through an ingenious and very complicated steam mechanism and it was difficult to use.
In the following years, many other mechanisms were introduced. Gaggia, for example, turned his attention to another energy source to generate pressure: a mainspring which produced the pressure to push hot water through the coffee in 15 seconds.
In 1961, Carlo Ernesto Valente, founder of Faema, tried to alleviate the muscular work of many bartenders with the creation of a new way to push the water through an electric pump. Thus, he founded the modern espresso machine.
Historical notes about coffee
Until 20th century nobody knows the place where the coffee plant originated. At that time, people believed that the plant grew in Persia and Yemen, but especially in Ethiopia. Pellegrino Artusi, an Italian gastronomist of 1820, in his famous cookbook “The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well”, said that the best coffee came from Mocha (Yemen), therefore Yemen became the coffee plant’s origin.
Before 1000 AD, the coffee cherries had been eaten green or with the extraction of the seed. Then, the Arabs thought to boil the beans in the water to prepare an infusion. Around 1615, this “Wine of Arabia” was imported to the West by Venetian merchants. It was first sold in pharmacies as an antidote to many ills, then coffee shops were born.
The first Italian coffee shop was open in 1683 in Piazza San Marco (Venice) and within two centuries others coffee shops appeared. Some coffee shops became intellectual meeting place for the best thinkers and philosophers.
Caffè Florian and Caffè Quadri in Venice had among its goers, various intellectuals like Byron, Rousseau, Canova and Pellico. Other famous coffee shops were Caffè Michelangelo in Florence, Caffè Pedrocchi in Padua and Caffè Greco and Caffè Aragno in Rome.
Then coffee shops or modern bars have continued and continue to be aggregation points for discussions of various kinds: sport, politics, art and other current topics.
The coffee is cultivated in the tropics, by the Equator. The coffee plant belongs to the family Rubiaceae, genus Coffea. This genus has different species and among these, Arabica and Canefora are the most important. Canefora is well known as Robusta. Between these two main species, the most popular is Arabica, as a matter of fact three-quarters of world production comes from its cultivation. It is able to produce an aromatic drink, less bitter and less astringent than the Robusta.
The propagation of the coffee plant takes place through two main methods: by striking (plant cutting) or sowing (process of planting seeds) that is undoubtedly the most used system. On secondary branches, white flowers with an intense fragrance sprout and they have a very short flowering. From the flower stems the drupe, a fleshy fruit, similar to a cherry. The drupe has a thick and glossy peel which is initially green, then bright red at full maturity.
The flowering of the coffee plant is closely related to the phenomenon of rain, as a matter of fact, this process occurs each time there is rainfall throughout the year.
The cherry contains two elongated oval seeds that are arranged head-on. The seed of Arabica is green and has a furrow similar to the shape of “S”, while the seed of Robusta is more rounded, pale green with shades of gray and has the furrow almost straight.
The two seeds are covered with a thick, whitish film called parchment, which has a protective function, while in the lower layer there is a second silvery film which is perfectly adherent to the seed.
The harvesting of fruits
There are two methods to harvest fruits: stripping and picking. The former consists of tearing the fruits of a small branch by forcing it between the fingers. The result is a low harvest quality. Indeed, the latter is the most expensive because of the use of hand-harvesting only of the red and ripe cherries. The result is a final high-quality product.
The seed extraction from the fruit
After harvesting, there is the seed extraction from the fruit with the dry seed treatment or wet seed treatment.
If the method used is stripping, first of all, it is necessary to separate the fruits from leaves, pieces of wood or stones. After that, it is possible to proceed with dry seed treatment: the cherries are dried in the sun for several days and when the peel and the pulp are completely dry, the cherries pass through a machine which decorticates peel, pulp and parchment releasing the grains. Then, the grains are separated and divided according to type and size (sieve). The dry seed treatment gives rise to natural coffees also known “unwashed”. The wet seed treatment is more long and complicated. To practice this method, it is necessary the use of hand-harvesting through picking-method that ensures a more size and fruit ripeness uniformity and a sufficient pulp softness. As a matter of fact, the cherries just picked, are placed in special machines that release the seed contained in the parchment.
After picking, there is the phase of fermentation that provides the immersion of the beans in large tanks of water for two or three days. This treatment removes the pulp remaining, but also develops a series of chemical reactions that improve the aromatic qualities and the taste.
After fermentation, the beans in parchment are sifted by a further wash with which the grains not perfectly ripe, rise to the surface to facilitate their selection.
This leads to drying. If the drying is carried out in the sun, improves the characteristics of washed coffees. After drying, there is the elimination of parchment. The larger waste of time and energy involved in the wet process is compensated by an excellent product quality and a greater consistency and uniformity of lots of beans.
Roasting gives coffee its proper aroma, taste and colour. It consists in bringing the coffee beans at drum temperatures between 200 and 230 degrees, using special equipment which are essentially of two types:
- traditional rotating drum machines with a discontinuous cycle, in which the coffee is gradually heated by hot air, for a time ranging from 15 to 25 minutes. These machines are now the most suitable for the roasting of Espresso coffee;
- fluid bed roasters with a continuous cycle, in which there is a vortex of hot air that keeps the grains in suspension for a minute or so.
With the use of the second type of machines the process becomes cheaper (more production per unit of time and less weight loss), but considering the speed, the aromas are not formed properly. At the desired moment, the roasted coffee is poured into a cooling drum in order to obtain the required temperature reduction for Espresso coffee. It is done only with fresh air.
By roasting the coffee bean profile changes radically. It is also possible to notice a series of chemical changes, fundamental for the characteristics of the future drink, such as new substances, that when roasting is completed, represent even 30% of the weight of the grain. In relation to quantity, the most important are the caramel and carbon dioxide, while in relation to aromatic or qualitative aspect, the main role is played by over a thousand volatile molecules which differ for neogenesis.
The same mixture can produce Espresso coffees organoleptically different in relations to the ways, the time and roasting degree. As a matter of fact, with the temperature, varies the amount of aromas, but also the relationship between bitter taste and sour taste: with the change of time and temperature can increase and decrease the bitter-sour relations.
The mixture performance, an essential operation in the Espresso coffee preparation, has three purposes:
- it improves the coffee quality in the cup as it combines the features of the best Espressos filling the gaps;
- it offers the roaster the opportunity to reward the consumer through the tangible expression of his competence and ability;
- it allows the roaster to give always a product of equal organoleptic value remedying the continuous changes of the raw materials due to natural ecosystem cycles in which the coffee is produced.
To achieve these objectives, it is necessary to know the world coffee market and the behavior during the cooking of any coffee type, in order to obtain, through formulas widely tested, the right bitter-sour-sweet balance and an aroma characterized by more positive notes in the absence of negative ones. The characteristic of each coffee type should not predominate over the others but it should merge in an harmonic complex, highly pleasant to the target market.
Of course, the mixture varies according to the coffee used and their quantity.
After the roasting that makes coffee beans dark brown, coffee should be stored in special maxi-containers strictly hygienic at a temperature above 10 degrees. This procedure is necessary to preserve the “taste and freshness” and to avoid freezing of oils and natural fats that would prevent the properly done Espresso performance.
Now the coffee is ready to be consumed and should be packaged for trade. The packaging is an important and delicate phase of the coffee’s working process because it has the task to preserve and protect it from the weather conditions after the roasting.
The problem to preserve the aroma of coffee until the consumer is a big one. For this reasons and thanks to numerous studies, there are now a series of packaging techniques, more and more responsive to the different needs.
Today, the producer can choose from a wide range of packages which are technically valid, in order to meet the commercial needs and to convey an integral mixture to the consumer. There are soft packets of aluminum and it packages in the presence or absence of oxygen (vacuum) or with an inert gas. It is increasingly used and with excellent results. Besides, there are the white latten (tin), which is airtight or sealed with the application of the unidirectional valve and many other methods, depending on user type and time of storage.
Michele Battista coffee is packed in beans, ground and pre-dosed (coffee pods), in different sizes and in a controlled atmosphere, with inert gas and valve or vacuum packed, for the espresso and the Moka pot preparation.
The Ho.Re.Ca. line is made of six different blends and it also includes Decaffeinated Coffee, Barley, Dolc’è Sweetener and single-dose sugar packets. Over the years, the work of the Battista family within the Café sector has changed; at the beginning it only consisted in supplying cafés with raw coffee, whereas today the company can also take care of the equipment, always aiming at customer satisfaction and a good management of his business.
Liquorito has been recently introduced, and the line includes Liquorito Coffee and Liquorito Cappuccino. The first is a liquor based on the blend Michele Battista, whereas the second is Coffee cream and whipped cream with a sweet and velvety taste to please the most discriminating palates. The Vending sector is rapidly increasing and now boasts its own production line, thus relying on a wide range of coffee, decaffeinated coffee and infusions.
The Office line includes custom-made machines for paper filters (pods) coming in universal size (ESE). The passion for espresso has encouraged the company to try and obtain even with small and handy pod machines an aromatic and strong espresso, and to provide customers with a wide range of hot drinks for office and small community use. The herbal tea line was introduced to this end. It comes from organic agriculture certified with the brand Tisanè.
Michele Battista’s roasting warehouse is regulated under ISO 9000:2000 and ICEA standards. The following certificates testify the continuous quality control process carried out by Michele Battista’s