by Luigi Odello
Secretary General of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters, he is also a lecturer at the University of Udine, Verona and at the Cattolica in Piacenza. In addition he is the Chairman of the Taster Study Center and Secretary General of the Italian Espresso National Institute
There is a strange combination in the chemicals of foods, which can be very useful to understand how the coffee industry is less mature than that of wine.
Both drinks contain the trichloroanisole (and their companions), perceptible at the level of one part per trillion (threshold of perception in the air, in coffee and wine is a little higher), which is seen by our sensory system as a threat and then declined in the most categorical way.
In fact, even a suburbs medium-level restaurant refuses to replace a bottle of wine to a customer if it is corked, while for coffee, people close their nose and drink. Yet from a data base we have been filling for years we understand that a significant amount of coffee on the market has trichloroanisole concentrations well above the threshold of perception, even 500 times. Yet they continue to circulate without limits.
However, if we go on talking about defects we can consider geosmin’s smell of rotten wood and earth, pyrazine that gives a vegetable taste (pea, chicory, depending on what accompanies it and on the levels of presence), dimetilsulfide and dimetildisulfide, both donors of fetid scents, or the more calm vinylguaiacol that, when highly concentrated, confers smoke and burnt taste.
These are just some examples, because in the course about the defects in the coffee, which the International Institute of Coffee Tasters is developing, the tasters will have the opportunity to try about twenty, spending an unforgettable day. It is necessary to make this step to create an embankment to the product of poor quality circulating unpunished on the market to accurately identify and tell the barista that he can drink it himself!
Precisely for this reason many topics related to sensory vices and virtues of coffee, as they originate and by which compounds are given, will be discussed during the modules of the Professional Master of Coffee Science and Sensory Analysis which will be held on next 22-24 September.