Chemistry and mathematics help make coffees and ice cream in Ponta Delgada

It is in the centre of Ponta Delgada that there is the Intz48, a business that intends to introduce new products in the Azorean consumption, with innovative processes of coffee and ice cream production, with a lot of chemistry and mathematics in the mix.

Louise and Daniel Nacach are a couple coming from Denmark with a mission: they are “coffee missionaries”, says Daniel, but also of ice cream. In 2016 they left Copenhagen, where they had a company with a bar and import of wines.

A small spot in the middle of the Atlantic on their kitchen map caught Louise’s attention and six months later the couple and their three young daughters had already moved to the Azores after selling everything they had in Denmark.

The decision was simple to see that “there was no one to make fresh toasted coffee and there was very little ice, no one made ice cream on a stick,” says Louise.

The Argentine is trained in chemistry and it was there that he sought the knowledge that the couple applies in their products.

The coffee is the responsibility of the Swedish Louise, who had to adapt to the market when she realized that “decaffeinated is something that locals look for a lot”, while “in the rest of Europe there is not much market” for this product.

“The vast majority of decafs are made in an artificial way: they make caffeine and the coffee residue that goes along with the chemicals they use to remove caffeine is sold,” he explains.

In Intz48, decaffeinated coffee is made from arabica beans, a more aromatic coffee with less caffeine. “The process is done to preserve the characteristics of the coffee and, in this way, ruin the caffeine, not the coffee”, he adds, stressing that the result is a product “without chemicals and with the characteristics of coffee: it has an aroma and is creamy”.

But it’s not just the consumption of decaf that is different – “Portugal consumes a lot of coffee, but always in expresso”, says Louise.

Here the coffees are subject to a meticulous method that uses cutting-edge technology in all phases of the process. It is in the space itself that the quality control of the grains, the roasting, the grinding, which has to be homogeneous, and the extraction is done.

Grain quality control is the first step and, with the equipment they have, unique in the region, they have already received requests for quality control of products from other islands in the Azores.

Daniel says that they have already received some Azorean coffees that are “interesting” and can be marketed.

Also in the ice cream, the responsibility of the Argentine, Intz48 wants to make a difference.

“There is already a lot of ice cream, and it’s very good, but this product [ice cream of wood] allows us to be more versatile with the mixtures of flavour,” he explains, stating that “making ice cream is mathematical, it’s chemistry”, and that its product is different because it “has less air” than ice cream, which makes it dense.

The process involves shredding the fruit in a refractometer (which analyzes the amount of natural sugar in the product), adjusting sugar levels and freezing at temperatures ranging from -16º to -40º. The usual is between -14º and -16º.

“There are people who like and people who do not like, but we give a compact mass of an ice cream with a more intense flavour,” explains the businessman.

Space is four months old and has already attracted local interest: “It’s hard to get people out of their routines and habits, but more and more Azoreans dare to take different paths,” says Louise.

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