Registrations Open for the International Coffee Tasting 2016, the World Coffee Tasting Competition

The eighth edition of the International Coffee Tasting will be held in Brescia (Italy) on October, 18-19. The commissions of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters (iiac), 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 2016 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 2016 is open to coffee roasters from all around the world. Coffee roasters can submit their applications within the 1st of October.

The competition is organized by International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac) with the cooperation of the Italian Tasters – Centro Studi Assaggiatori (Csa) and the support of Iiac Japan, Iiac Korea, Iiac Taiwan and Iiac China under the patronage of the International Academy of Sensory Analysis (Iasa).

More information:

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.

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

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 around the world: Congo Kivu

We are in deep love with Italian Espresso, but from time to time it is nice to take a look at the way people choose and drink coffee in the world. We are glad to publish this short contribution by Andrea Gersi, an Italian-American coffee roaster that blends its Italian roots with the new American trends.

Congo Kivu

Beautiful notes of citrus, dark fruits and hibiscus awesome. 18 g shot for 25 seconds at 93°C temperature . Nice body for a single origin, very silky. The crema holds very well and the aftertaste is so pleasant: a very delicate cup . By the way, a very surprisingly cup.

Italian Espresso Abroad: A True Story In Taiwan

by Carlo Odello

Trainer and member of the board of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters 

When I arrive in Taipei on Saturday afternoon, the city welcomes me by light rain that is getting heavier. It often rains here in Taiwan. My interpreter Raffaele always jokes about this and tells me that the rainiest city in the country is the one he comes from, which is even worse than Taipei!

When I get to the hotel I’m told that unfortunately I’m too early to check-in. I have to wait: Taipei is like a small Japan and yet they speak Chinese here – however I don’t intend to upset the orderly balance of this island. Raffaele, who apart from the Italian name is one hundred percent Taiwanese, suggests that we go and visit a good friend who has just changed his job. I think it’s a good idea. Three subway stops and twenty minutes later we get there.

The place is new and manages to combine Asian refinement with that modern touch that one can find in similar coffee bars in the United States (everyone knows that the Americans are good at exporting their formats). However, this one is not part of a big chain and it serves up the espresso of a famous Italian brand.

My friend wants me to try the coffee and give her my opinion on it. To say no in Italy would be rude, so never mind in Asia, where good manners are everything. And then again I haven’t had a real coffee in over 24 hours (why do they always serve up that dark broth on the flight?).

After a short wait we are served a cup of coffee of a known Italian brand. The first sip confirms what I had observed from looking at it: it’s under-extracted. It’s watery and bitter in the mouth and the aroma barely reaches my nose. It is well known that this coffee is delicate even when fully extracted, so under-extraction destroys it. The problem is not the quality of the product; you can drink far worse in Italy, as I tell my friend. With her beautiful Asian smile she asks me what I really think of it. And I explain the problem using all the tact that I possess. I do so in technical terms because she is a taster of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters.

She nods in agreement: it is under-extracted and she explains why. Basically, the owner of the coffee bar does not allow anyone to adjust the grinding, as he is probably terrified of the possibility of wasting coffee. In a country where the least that you can expect is rain, getting up to typhoons during the summer, grinding coffee correctly becomes very important.

I think to myself that the issue is not the owner of the bar who imposes this strict diktat. The point is the Italian brand which should probably check up more on what goes on in the bars that serve up its coffee. Business is business, but not checking what customers are doing in a turbulent market such as the Taiwanese market means that you stoop to the mediocre quality offered by the American and Japanese chains that are popping up everywhere on the island.

The good news is that meanwhile it has stopped raining and I can take up the road towards the hotel. The under-extracted coffee has given me a coup de grace: I’m totally ready to enjoy the comfort of my room now.

June 2011: advanced coffee training in Italy

The 2011 Professional Master of Coffee Science and Sensory Analysis will be held in Brescia (Italy) from June 27 to July 1. The Professional Master will be taught in English.

The goal of this Professional Master is of providing, through sensory analysis, criteria and practical application tools for orientating production, along the whole production process, towards the achievement of a product able to ensure customers’ maximum pleasure.

Practical training will explain and illustrate the tools for recognizing through senses qualities and defects in the cup, how to obtain maximum sensory potential in extraction at the coffee shop, sensory analysis tests for assessing quality and stability of production result and, finally, sensory analysis data and the specific tests for fast selection of green coffee, roasting and blending methods, supported by scientific confidence. The whole with the aim of achieving consumers’ best satisfaction at cup stage.

More information: please download the form.


Brazilian Coffee: Sensory Profile by Law

from the correspondent Antonello Monardo *

The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Wagner Rossi, signed a measure that delineates a series of criteria to ensure quality of coffee for the end consumer.   The new regulations will be applied to roasted coffee in both bean and ground forms.

The measure, which will go into effect in nine months, has already been published in the Official Register.  It will determine the requisites that will define the maximum percentage of impurities, setting the basic sensory standards for coffee, the second most consumed beverage in the country, second only to the water.

The coffee that is produced in Brazil, or imported into the country, can have a maximum impurity level of one percent.  The humidity in the roasted and ground coffee cannot exceed five percent.  Other specifications in the regulation have also been set, including the criteria for the coffee’s sensory characteristics at aromatic and taste levels, the definition of the acidity, bitterness and astringency, as well as the body of the coffee.

An expert accredited by the Ministry of Agriculture, who is either a technician or an agronomist specialized in coffee, will be entrusted with the sensory evaluation.  The test will be carried out in a firm accredited by the Ministry.

"I consider the measure a milestone in the national coffee production," the Minister said.  "It is a form of respect to the Brazilians who are accustomed to drinking and appreciating coffee."  According to the Ministry, the regulation will also increase its market value which has been growing, on average, by 5% a year, making Brazil the second largest consumer of coffee in the world.

The new legislation has been approved after three years of work by government representatives and members of the private sector, such as the Brazilian Coffee Industry Association.

* Antonello Monardo is living in Brasilia since 1992 and he his delegate of the Italian Brazilian chamber of commerce and industry. Working for café gourmet and special, he won the gold medal at the International Coffee Tasting 2008. He works on and manages classes for barmen and barwomen, he takes part to conferences and events in universities, spreading the culture of the quality coffee.

Registrations are now open for the International Coffee Tasting 2010, the world coffee tasting competition

The third edition of International Coffee Tasting will be held in Brescia (Italy) on October, 26-27. 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.

"At its third edition, International Coffee Tasting 2010 will be an excellent barometer to evaluate how things are going in the coffee market – said Mr. Luigi Odello, secretary general of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters and professor of sensory analysis in Italian universities and abroad – In the  last edition of the competition we had the chance to sample 130 different from all around the world". A real international showcase, useful to understand the latest trends.

International Coffee Tasting 2010 accepts coffee in all different styles, from espresso 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 mission of the International Coffee Tasting 2010 is not only to award excellence, but also to support coffee roasters in reaching it. "The market is effectively polarizing itself, with peaks of high quality countered by example of poor quality", concluded Mr Odello.

International Coffee Tasting 2010 is open to coffee roasters from all around the world. Coffee roasters can register up until the June 30 (forms available at For more information please contact Claudia Ferretti (, tel. +39 030 397308).

>> Go to the International Coffee Tasting 2010 page

Espresso Italiano Roasting: roasting and blending from the tasters’ point of view

Espresso Italiano Roasting, the new publication from the International Institute of Coffee Tasters, has just been published. It is completely focused on the Italian way of roasting and blending.

Italian espresso stands out as a concrete expression of the elegance typical of “Made in Italy”, products covering the key role of testimonial of our agro-food culture. And this is why science can only resort to all the modern available means to photograph this art, hoping to replicate and innovate it.

And the aim of Espresso Italiano Roasting is all about this, in fact it focuses on collecting and arranging the output of coffee research using appropriate technical terms to promote its diffusion, giving special attention to the current available means in the field of coffee roasting. As a matter of fact, each single chapter and paragraph is soaked in sensory analysis, which is the main tool used at present for selecting green coffee, setting the roasting process and realizing the blends. The countless correlations involving chemistry, technology and sensory results will easily guide the readers, giving them the tools to understand phenomena they have certainly already observed in the past without the necessary competence.

Espresso Italiano Roasting is in fact based on the experience that the author has achieved with the courses held by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters, the thousands of consumer and laboratory tests carried out by the Taster Study Centre and the tens of samples that have undergone sophisticated chemical analysis.

Espresso Italiano Roasting is only available in electronic format (high resolution PDF) and can be ordered on the website of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters. The index and the first chapter are freely downloadable from the same website.