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The coffee roaster Flor da Selva is the historic industrial space that we invite you to get to know today. Let yourself immerse in its intense and perfumed aroma.
The coffee culture is intrinsic to the population of the city of Lisbon. The strong habit of its consumption is present in the countless bakeries and cafés, where the “bicas” give energy and courage to face the day and, at any time of the day, they accompany sweet or savoury treats or top off meals.
The historic cafés, places for social gatherings and gatherings of the intellectuals of the past centuries, continue being frequented a lot by locals and foreigners every day and give a certain charm to the city. Clear examples of these are: A Brasileira and Pastelaria Benard in Chiado, the café Nicola in Rossio and the Martinho da Arcada in Comércio Square.
Other testimonies are the traditional shops that sell coffee in bulk, usually associated with teas, chocolates and other regional or gourmet products.
The explanation of this intense connection of the Portuguese people to coffee is related to the traditional plantation of coffee plants in the former colonies from Angola to Timor, as well as São Tomé and Príncipe and Cape Verde.
The easy access to coffee of the best quality allowed the Portuguese to not only develop a passion for this drink, but also the knowledge about the production and transformation of this raw material.
The coffee roaster Flor da Selva is one of the houses that marks this industry in Lisbon since the mid-20th century.
Get to know Lisbon’s historic neighbourhoods in a guided tour and discover unmissable places of this magnificent city.
Read also 3 Styles of Coffee with Milk from Portugal, the three usual ways that the Portuguese enjoy coffee with milk.
The Coffee Roaster Flor da Selva
In Madragoa, one of the typical neighbourhoods of Lisbon, concretely in Travessa do Pasteleiro no. 32, we visited the historic industrial unit of the coffee roaster Flor da Selva.
When trespassing the door of the establishment we enter an exiguous space, filled with coffee packages, grinding machines, orders ready to be delivered… It’s also here that clients are received with sympathy and customised service.
In addition to that, it is in this reduced space that we find deep knowledge about the combination of varieties of coffee and the roasting of coffee beans from all over the world.
We were welcomed by Jorge Monteiro and his son Francisco, who briefly told us the story of this family business that has been going on for three generations.
Brief Story about the Coffee Roaster Flor da Selva
Manuel Alves Monteiro, father of the current owners, originally from Melgaço, came to Lisbon when he was very young to work in food distribution.
Later on he was part of the society of the coffee factory Flor Africana located in Bairro Alto.
In 1950 he founded his own company, Flor da Selva, with a shop in Rua da Esperança and a roasting and grinding factory, located in the same street where it is today. At the time, it supplied, among others, seven shops in the city of Lisbon and its surroundings, which belonged to his brothers who sold, in addition to coffee, other products, such as tea, dried fruits, spices…
In the cover photo of this article you can see the batch Flor da Selva with the brand image of the time, constituted by two flowers and an African feminine figure who’s enjoying a cup of coffee. This image was created by the famous architect Nuno San-Payo, still a student at the time and a relative of Mr. Monteiro.
The Roasting Factory
After that we had the privilege of watching the coffee roasting process, the place where the magic happens. Here everything is done in an artisanal way and according to the traditional precepts.
The coffee beans are sucked into the roaster PROBAT of 1972, of German manufacture, one of the few firewood roasters still operating in Europe. Flor da Selva makes sure to maintain this type of fuel in order to preserve the final product’s quality.
During the roasting, the beans are carefully verified and constantly evaluated by the experienced professional, until they reach the roasting degree that gives them the desired characteristics.
Modern Knowledge Meets Tradition
Flor da Selva works with different varieties of coffee, which come from Ethiopia, São Tomé, Colombia, Vietnam, among other places.
Its clients are too very distinct. From neighbours to online international orders, as well as general restaurants and gourmet restaurants, which demand coffees with specific particularities for different concepts.
For that the coffee roaster Flor da Selva has its laboratory where the alchemy of the coffees happens. The complexity of the flavour can be seen in the sign “Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel”, where categories such as floral, fruity or nutty/cocoa, which are more popular in wine, are attributed to coffee.
Flor da Selva also has pre-packaged batches (Magnólia, Estrelícia, Orquídea and Azália) with different percentages of robusta and arabica species. The former is more structured and has a higher level of caffeine, while the latter has more flavour and aroma.
Being free of additives is another important aspect of its products. Clients are, for that reason, advised to purchase small quantities at a time, in order to preserve the freshness and aroma of the coffee.
The coffee roaster Flor da Selva also has a selection of organic coffee. To find out more visit their website.
After this visit we recognised that it’s a privilege to still be able to buy natural coffee, roasted according to tradition and prepared according to the client’s taste.
Of course it had to be in this fantastic city of Lisbon!
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