Seminars on tasting Italian espresso at the Ism 2016 (Cologne, Germany)

The Ism 2016 in Cologne (Germany, 31st January – 3rd February) will host seminars by the  International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac) on tasting Italian espresso. Carlo Odello, member of the board and lecturer of the Iiac, will host the seminars twice a day at Caffè Italia, the special area focused on Italian espresso. Caffè Italia is also endorsed by the Italian Espresso National Institute (Inei). The seminar program is available here.

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Welcome to the “rare soils” that tell us where coffee comes from

by Emanuela Pusceddu, PhD in Physics

IBIMET Institute of Biometeorology – National Research Centre (CNR)
Quality and authenticity are important aspects for the agri-food industry and consequently also for the safety of consumers and manufacturers.  A problem affecting the agri-food industry, both from the point of view of product quality and economically, lies in the issue of counterfeit origins, adulteration and labelling of products.
The scientific community has focused its attention to thwart fraud on food matrices, such as wine, oil, wheat, rice and many other products.
Several studies have addressed the issue of varietal traceability of agricultural products and allowed to develop solid analytical methodologies while to date, there are few studies on geographical traceability. Currently, several investigative techniques are able to characterise bio-matrices from a chemical, physical and biological viewpoint.
Some of these techniques take into account a family of chemical elements, the so-called "rare soils" (family of Lanthanides). These chemicals are contained in the soil and are absorbed by plants, and are also found in fruits or in food products. In particular, the analysis of chemical elements has been applied successfully in this field, such as mass spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma (ICP-MS). One study demonstrated with this technique that the composition of multiple elements in food products is strongly influenced by the solubility of inorganic compounds in the soil. This shows that there is a correlation between the chemical elements present in the soil, in the plant and in the fruit. The possible identification of trace elements, such as the lanthanides in bio-matrices may be used to identify the geographical location of the soil that produces them.
Currently, an experiment is under way to determine the traceability of coffee in collaboration with the Italian Espresso National Institute (Inei) and the International Institute of Coffee tasters (Iiac). Preliminary tests revealed a substantial difference between the quantities of Lanthanide elements contained in green coffee taken from samples from two different countries. Therefore, we have been able to observe the discrimination between two samples of coffee originated from different soils. The same type of experiment was also conducted on coffee after roasting, coming from two different countries. Even in the case of the roasted samples, it has been possible to observe the discrimination between the two agro-products from different soils.
The next steps of this study focus on the refinement of the technique used and the construction of a database of coffee with the guarantee of geographical origin. This work will allow us to achieve significant results for the agri-food sector, in the field of geographical tracking and authentication, in order to protect consumers and manufacturers.

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The video of the finals of Espresso Italiano Champion 2015

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.

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The king of Italian coffee is Greek

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).

Despite his young age, Giannis Magkanas has been active for several years in the coffee industry. After studying at the Essse Caffè training centre, he now works for Essse Caffè Greece within the Quality Assurance and Training departments. “In Greece having an Italian Espresso is a very common thing, – he declares – Greeks love Italian coffee as it is both complex and balanced”.

“It is truly positive for the Italian coffee industry that the winner of the Espresso Italian Champion 2015 is a young Greek man – commented the President of INEI Paolo Nadalet – This represents a symbol of the vitality of our product which is able to keep on fascinating professionals and consumers well beyond the Italian borders”.

Most of all, Espresso Italiano Champion keeps on being an important educational event. “The competition is and must remain an important moment of comparison between professionals, a push to do better and better – declared the General Secretary of INEI Luigi Odello – As of this year we have seen many excellent professionals and the level of the competition has further increased as compared to last year’s edition”.

In the picture: Gianni Magkanas, Espresso Italiano Champion 2015, with Paolo Nadalet, President of the Italian Espresso National Institute (INEI)

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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.

Of the nineteen baristas who will go through to the finals, a third of them are not Italian and come from Germany, Greece, China, Korea and Taiwan. These coffee professionals will take each other on in the Espresso Italiano Champion 2015 semi-finals on 25th October at Host 2015, the sector’s most important fair worldwide.
The semi-finals will be hosted by Wega, Astoria and Vibiemme in their stands and the grand final, on the same day, by Wega. For Cristiano Osnato, Director of Vibiemme, this is “a great opportunity to enhance human capital in our country”. Astoria Sales Director, Stefano Stecca, echoed this when he declared that “the baristas are the real exponents of our idea of quality, with whom we share passion and skills every day”.
Paolo Nadalet, Managing Director at Wega and INEI President, emphasized that the Espresso Italiano Champion is an important step for the hospitality industry because it “shows a vast audience of experts how much impact Certified Italian Espresso standards have upon the ability to offer a consumer a perfect product”.

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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, a Swiss and UK based website dedicated to gourmet Italian coffee and the Italian espresso bar culture.

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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

For more information, contact:

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Italian Espresso certification programme and certification for Espresso Italiano Trainers in October 2015

Espresso Italiano Trainer - International Institute of Coffee TastersNew 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.

For more information, please download the PDF or write to


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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.

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Iiac seminars in Cologne from 1st to 4th February

Image The International Institute of Coffee Tasters’ (Iiac) seminars, dedicated to Italian espresso tasting, will take place in the Caffè Italia area of the ISM trade fair in Cologne from 1st to 4th February. These short meetings will introduce visitors to the main characteristics of the drink, with the aim of providing essential information on assessing the quality of the espresso. They will be held twice a day (at 12.00 p.m. and 3.00 p.m.) by Manuela Violoni, member of the board and lecturer of Iiac, in the Caffè Italia area in hall 5.2.
Caffè Italia is an Italian espresso tasting event sponsored by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac) and the Italian Espresso National Institute (Inei), which has been organised for the first time in Germany in cooperation with Koelnmesse and with technical support provided by Rancilio Group. In the past it has been held in the United States, France, Japan, Korea, China and Thailand. The next Caffè Italia event will take place at Foodex, in Tokyo, from 3rd to 6th March 2015. For any information please contact Carlo Odello (

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