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Flavors, coffee seeds maturity and fashion trends​


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​

International Coffee Tasting Asia 2015International Coffee Tasting Asia 2015 returns on the 1st and 2nd December. This international competition is unique in that in order to select the best coffees it relies exclusively on the modern sensory analysis. The 2015 edition, which will be held in Taiwan, is organised by the local branch of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac) with technical and scientific support from the CSA Italian Tasters.
In the 2014 edition, 149 coffees from 15 different countries were entered, and then evaluated by 26 international judges. The judges were divided into committees and checked by a sensory analysis software which measured their effectiveness. The coffee tastings were naturally carried out blind to eliminate any possible influences on the judges’ evaluation.
“A competition between coffees must set the objectivity of the evaluations as a prime goal”, commented Luigi Odello, president of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac) “Therefore, not only will all the tasters at International Coffee Tasting Asia 2015 be Iiac qualified, but we will also evaluate effectively their reliability”.
The competition is organised with the support of Iiac Korea, Iiac Japan and Iiac Taiwan who are already gathering entries from Asian coffee roasters. Registration is open worldwide.
The rules of International Coffee Tasting Asia 2015 and the registration form for coffees are also available from www.coffeetasters.org.

For more information, contact: carlo.odello@italiantasters.com

Watch what happened at the International Coffee Tasting 2014, the international coffee competition

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.




Tutti i vincitori di International Coffee Tasting 2014, il concorso internazionale del caffè

International Coffee Tasting 2014Si è chiusa a Brescia la sesta edizione di International Coffee Tasting 2014, il concorso tra caffè organizzato dall’Istituto Internazionale Assaggiatori Caffè (Iiac). Iscritti al concorso 149 caffè da 15 paesi (Italia, Corea, Australia, Canada, Cina, Germania, Giappone, Portogallo, Slovenia, Spagna, Svizzera, Thailandia, Taiwan, Stati Uniti, Vietnam). Le valutazioni sensoriali sono state affidate a 26 giudici di 9 paesi diversi (Corea, Danimarca, Giappone, Italia, Malesia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spagna, Svezia).
Il concorso è stata anche l’occasione per cogliere le linee di tendenza del settore. “Per quanto riguarda i caffè italiani emergono alcuni nuovi prodotti, tra cui alcune monorigini, e si riconfermano alcuni classici della nostra tradizione – ha commentato Luigi Odello, presidente Iiac – Segno di una bella vitalità del mercato che è capace di evolversi in un solco però di continuità con il proprio passato”.
I caffè provenienti dall’estero confermano che sempre di più anche nei cosiddetti nuovi mercati, come quelli asiatici, il traguardo principale è l’equilibrio e la complessità del prodotto. “Si tratta tra l’altro di tratti tipici dell’espresso italiano – ha continuato Odello – Ciò ci fa ben sperare per il futuro del nostro caffè sui mercati più nuovi, i quali assumono naturalmente un rilievo importante per il nostro export”.
Il concorso è stato sponsorizzato da Wega Macchine per Caffè e Compak Coffee Grinders e organizzato con la collaborazione tecnico-scientifico del Centro Studi Assaggiatori.
Espresso italiano
100% Arabica N. 23 (1), Torrefazione Caffè Gran Salvador, Brescia
Caffè Alberto Miscela Pappagallo Oro, Caffè Alberto Taurocaf, Torino
Caffè Alberto Miscela Pappagallo Rosso, Caffè Alberto Taurocaf, Torino
Caffè Miscela Crema Bar, Torrefazione Caffè Avana, Brescia
Caffè Morettino "Grangusto", Angelo Morettino, Palermo
Caffè Oro (Top Quality), Dersut Caffè, Treviso
Caffè Qualità Royal, La Genovese, Savona
Caffè Roen "Extra Bar", Torrefazione Caffè Roen, Verona
Eccellenza, Artcafé, Parma
Espresso Bendinelli "100% Arabica Gourmet", Torrefazione Caffè Roen, Verona
Estrella Del Caribe, Corsino Corsini, Arezzo
Extra Bar, Torrefazione San Salvador, Sondrio
Faraglia Barrique, Torrefazione Olimpica, Rieti
Gold Arabica, Torrefazione A. Castorino, Salerno
Kavè, G.I.Fi.Ze, Bologna
Milani Gran Aroma, Milani, Como
Miscela Caffè "1 Bar Caracol", Torrefazione Saturno, Alessandria
Miscela Miguel "Reserva Do Fundador", Torrefazione El Miguel, Varese
Miscela Orobar, Caffè Campetelli, Frosinone 
Perfero Velvet, Perfero Caffè, Fermo
Platino Premium Barista, Omkafè, Trento
Espresso non Italiano
Barcaffé Bar, Droga Kolinska, Slovenia
Barcaffé Prestige Crema SRB, Droga Kolinska, Slovenia
Barcaffé Prestige SLO, Droga Kolinska, Slovenia
Caffè Bruno / Espresso Italiano, Caffè Bruno, Tailandia
Coffellection Blend, Coffellection, Taiwan
Dromedario Colombia Nariño Supremo "El Tambo", Café Dromedario, Spagna
Dromedario Especial Espresso, Café Dromedario, Spagna
Dromedario Etiopia Limu, Café Dromedario, Spagna
Espresso Anniversario, Orinoco Coffee & Tea, Usa
Espresso Blend Butter, Milano Coffee, Canada
Espresso Blend Velvet, Milano Coffee, Canada
Genovese Super Brazil Blend, Genovese Coffee, Australia
Golden Espresso, Season Coffee Food , Taiwan
La Brasileña 5 Alturas, Café Dromedario, Spagna
Pearls Original Espresso, Coffee Kissa Pearls, Giappone
Pozo Artesania, Café Dromedario, Spagna
Coffee Atelier Story, Coffee Atelier, Corea
Barcaffé Filter, Droga Kolinska D.d., Slovenia
Kes 1, Koo Eune Sune Coffee, Corea
Kes 3, Koo Eune Sune Coffee, Corea
Kotobukiya A Premium Blend, Kotobukiya Coffee, Giappone
Miscela Evoluzione Macinato Moka, Torrefazione Musetti, Piacenza
Miscela Primo Aroma – 100% Arabica, Torrefazione Morandini, Brescia
Monodose (cialde e capsule)
Cialde Marodda "Limited Edition", Marodda, Taranto
Cialde Miscela Cremissimo, Torrefazione Musetti S.r.l, Piacenza
Elegante, Caffè Agust, Brescia
Espresso Love 100% Arabica Cialda, Minuto Caffè, Savona
Natura Equa Bio/Fairtrade, Caffè Agust, Brescia
Per macchina automatica casa
Schäumle, Kaffeeroesterei Principe, Germania

Filippo Mezzaro crowned 2014 Espresso Italiano Champion

2014-10 Filippo-Mezzaro-vincitore-EIC2014

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.

Italian Espresso certification programme and certification for Espresso Italiano Trainers in October 2014

Espresso Italiano Trainer - International Institute of Coffee TastersNew certification sessions for Italian Espresso and for Espresso Italiano Trainers will take place in Brescia (Italy) from the 27th to the 30th October 2014, just after the international exhibition Triestespresso.

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 27th and 28th October and are valid for the Inei’s certification Italian Espresso.

The certification programme for Espresso Italiano Trainers will immediately follow on the 29th and 30th 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 100 Espresso Italiano Trainers in the world.

For more information, please download the PDF or write to carlo.odello@italiantasters.com.


Registrations Open for the International Coffee Tasting 2014, the World Coffee Tasting Competition

ICT_2014_LogoThe sixth edition of the International Coffee Tasting will be held in Brescia (Italy) on October, 21-22. The commissions of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters, the scientific and independent association that concentrates exclusively on the sensory analysis of the coffee, will meet in Brescia to evaluate samples of coffees coming from all over the world.

International Coffee Tasting 2014 accepts coffee in all different styles, from espresso beans to capsules, from pods to filter coffee. Each company participating to the competition will receive its ranking and the sensory profile of its own product. The winners will be entitled to use the official logo of the competition on the winning products.

The international Coffee Tasting 2014 is open to coffee roasters from all around the world. Coffee roasters can submit their applications by September 19.

The International Coffee Tasting 2014 is sponsored by Wega and by Compak Coffee Grinders.

More information

– competition rules and application forms: http://www.assaggiatoricaffe.org/site/?q=en/node/1006

– a short clip about the International Coffee Tasting 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxm8eDjLhBs

– contact person: Carlo Odello (carlo.odello@italiantasters.com)

Join the seminar Sensory Analysis of the Italian Espresso at the Scae World of Coffee (Rimini)

We are pleased to announce that Scae invited the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac) to hold a seminar about the methodology of tasting Italian espresso at the upcoming World of Coffee in Rimini.

The seminar Espresso Italiano Experience will be held on the 10th June (10–12 AM) in the cupping room by Carlo Odello, member of the board of the Iiac, communications manager for the Inei (Italian Espresso National Institute) and founder of the Ibs (Italian Barista School). He will talk about the scientific tasting method developed to assess the quality of a cup of Italian espresso. Participants will thus learn how to use the Italian Espresso Sensory Map and the tasting sheet developed by the Inei for its certification program for Italian coffee roasters, machines and grinders manufacturers and baristas.

For more information and reserve your seat, please contact Julie Barwick, Scae Education Development Coordinator, at julie@scae.com or visit http://scae.com/news/scae-notices/919-exclusive-first-look-world-of-coffee-workshops.html

2014-05-27 woc-rimini


Is caffeine good for us, or for the plant?

Luigi_Odelloby Luigi Odello (president of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters)

When a country does not feel threatened, it dismisses the army. This is precisely what the coffee plant does to caffeine, which in practice represents one of its weapons against attacking diseases. The tendency to produce caffeine is however part of a plant’s genetics, and as such is difficult to change.

However, the Brazilian researcher Mazzafera achieved just this, through genetic manipulation, to obtain a plant that produced no caffeine at all, but when reproduced, this same plant then returned to producing the traditional caffeine content. The fact remains that when the plant no longer needs to defend itself against external attack, it produces less caffeine: the Robusta coffee plant, when grown in a healthy environment, such as at high altitudes, reduces its own production of caffeine.

This is the same case of the Arabica. In a virtually parallel manner, the trend of chlorogenic acids acts in the same way, constituting another essential defence mechanism for any compounds exposed to the risk of mould, as these acids neutralise their enzymes by acting on the protein part. Thus for humans, it is important to obtain coffee from plants that had less need to defend themselves, as doctors generally agree on the maximum recommended daily intake of caffeine: 300 milligrams.

This means that we can actually drink 6 or 7 espresso coffees, if the alkaloid content is around 40-50 milligrams, but we should halve this in the case of coffee with a high caffeine content. Here is another advantage that the world would have passing to Italian Espresso: an Italian moka coffee can contain twice the caffeine and a filter coffee even three times. But we were talking of Italian Espresso: 7 grams of coffee to obtain a cup of 25 millilitres in 25 seconds. Obviously, that changes if we take the case of the recent inventions of 9/10 grams.

Coffee challenges Asian markets with International Coffee Tasting Asia 2013


International Coffee Tasting, the coffee competition from the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac), is poised to conquer the world. International Coffee Tasting Asia 2013 will in fact be held in Tokyo this November. After four editions organized in Italy, the competition moves to one of the most definitely interesting areas for the world of coffee: Asia.

The rules and methods implemented will be the same that helped International Coffee Tasting succeed so far: completely blind tastings performed by Iiac tasters and statistic validation of data. Only the winners will be announced (those who ranked in the first 30 %), the others will still receive a sensory profile and their placement so that they will be adequately informed about their performance (in this sense, the competition is also a useful market research).

"The big difference is that the tasting commissions will be made up exclusively of Asian Iiac tasters: Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese," says the President of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters Luigi Odello, "Here is the real value of this competition: a sensorial evaluation performed by professionals who operate in arguably the most interesting export markets of the moment."

Many of the past winners have told us how being able to claim an International Coffee Tasting Gold Medal supported their export business. An award won in Asia for the Asian market could therefore have very important value.

Regulations and the application form are available at www.coffeetasters.org.