Watch the finals of the Espresso Italiano Champion 2015 in Milan at Host on the 25th of October, the only barista championship completely focused on the Italian espresso and cappuccino.
The king of Italian coffee is Greek: Giannis Magkanas, 24 years old, graduates as a champion successfully passing the semi-final and final phases of the Espresso Italiano Champion 2015 championship, organised by the Italian Espresso National Institute (INEI).
In the picture: Gianni Magkanas, Espresso Italiano Champion 2015, with Paolo Nadalet, President of the Italian Espresso National Institute (INEI)
Espresso Italiano Champion 2015: the semi-finals and grand final to be held in Milan on 25th October to select the king of Italian espresso
The Espresso Italiano Champion 2015 selection competitions, promoted by the Italian Espresso National Institute (INEI) in Italy and abroad, are coming to a close. Dozens of baristas have taken part in the contest organized by the companies associated with the INEI.
By Luigi Odello, chairman of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac)
The biological world, on which we rely on for food and many of life’s pleasures, is selfish. We should not think that fruits develop flavors for the enjoyment of humans. Actually, they do so as a means to find “collaborators” for the propagation of their species. Consequently, until the seeds are ripe we shouldn’t dream of an appealing flavor, and we shouldn’t expect a rewarding tactile or taste sensation. Only when the seeds are ripe, and the plants reduce their defenses against external attacks do the fruits become sweeter and reduce their astringency. Unfortunately, most of the fruits that are available commercially are acidic, sometimes astringent and often flavorless, because (amongst other reasons) they have been picked too early.
This is a straightforward concept, but historically various trends have managed to quietly push against it. Remembering wines of the 80’s, there was a movement that encouraged the picking of grapes before the point of physiological maturity. A little acidity was convenient and the wines were surely easier to preserve. The results however weren’t great.
Now this is happening to coffees, sometimes by necessity and sometimes by lack of competence. On one hand, labor cost increases have lead to mechanical picking wherever possible. The effect of this is that in many places only a small part of the coffee fruits achieve sugar levels of 20 Brix (which is the threshold required to get minimum flavor) and an even smaller part achieves 25 Brix, which is the level necessary for a first class coffee. In addition to this, to avoid surprises in the logistic chain, many coffee farmers resort now to accelerated drying. In addition to these factors, there is the modern trend of lightly roasting to maintain acidity. Together these lead to a failure to develop even the minimal precursors of flavors that exist in beans.
Some roasters would like the public to believe that coffee that contains a mix of citric and malic acids is the best coffee there can be. Among the supporters of this new trend there are some who, if the coffee has citric acid, will comment that it has citrus notes, and if it has malic acid, they will say it has apple notes. For us, these are reasons to mistrust many representatives of these new trends, and to reaffirm the philosophy of the fathers of our Espresso Italiano: roast slowly and roast fully, using only perfectly mature coffee beans. We’re happy to be out of fashion.
Translated by Cris and Martin at www.caffedelbar.com, a Swiss and UK based website dedicated to gourmet Italian coffee and the Italian espresso bar culture.
International Coffee Tasting Asia 2015: registration is open for the international coffee competition
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Italian Espresso certification programme and certification for Espresso Italiano Trainers in October 2015
New certification sessions for Italian Espresso and for Espresso Italiano Trainers will take place in Italy from the 19th to the 22nd October 2015, just before the international trade show Host.
The Italian Espresso certification programme is run by the Italian Espresso National Institute (Inei) in cooperation with the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac). It is made up of two modules (M1 Espresso Italiano Tasting and M2 Espresso Italiano Specialist). The two courses will take place on the 19th and the 20th October and are valid for the Inei’s certification Italian Espresso.
The certification programme for Espresso Italiano Trainers will immediately follow on the 21st and 22nd October. Candidate trainers have to attend two more modules (M3 Senses Brain Sensory Analysis and EIT Espresso Italiano Trainer course). Certified trainers will be entitled to hold the sensory seminar Espresso Italiano Experience on behalf of the Iiac. The content of the seminar includes information on espresso and tasting techniques with the final aim of teaching the students how to assess the quality of Italian coffee. Each student receives a certificate after passing the thoery and tasting exams at the end of the seminar. There are more than 150 Espresso Italiano Trainers in the world.
Watch what happened at the International Coffee Tasting 2014 (Brescia, Italy, 21 and 22 October 2014), the only competition assessing the quality of coffee by a wise use of sensory analysis. 26 sensory judges from 9 countries gather together to evaluate 149 coffees from 15 countries. All the judges were skilled coffee tasters authorized by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters.
After months of anticipation, the 2014 Espresso Italiano Champion has been named. Held for the first time in London at Pall Mall’s Royal Automobile Club, Filippo Mezzaro beat 14 other baristas to win the prestigious title. All 15 competing baristas came from 14 Italian espresso companies and partner organisations from around the world.
Each barista had 11 minutes to produce 4 espressos and 4 cappuccinos, judged by a panel of technical and sensory judges. The technical judges graded the baristas on the production of their coffees; whilst the sensory judges let the coffee speak for itself.
Each barista was awarded a certificate by the Vicepresident of INEI (Espresso Italiano National Institute), Marco Paladini, and the Secretary General, Luigi Odello. For the best espresso, Cristian Tetro representing Costadoro, took the title and the best cappuccino went to Alessandro Corsi, Essse Caffè. The overall champion, creating the best espresso and cappuccino of the day with the perfect technique, was of course Filippo Mezzaro, representing Torrefazione Saturno.
Filippo’s family life has over 40 years history in the cafe industry: ‘For me, coffee is first of all a passion, but managed with the proper training, it is a much higher quality.’ Filippo has always participated in courses run by the INEI and IIAC (International Institute of Coffee Tasters) and has always believed in continuing his education alongside his hard work as a barista.
This debut event and Filippo’s win signify the beginning of a new trend in the UK coffee market – a trend that celebrates the skill of a traditional barista and the origins of Italian espresso.