Professional Master of Coffee Science and Sensory Analysis

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.


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.

Does Robusta exist in wine?

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

We are not resented with Coffea canephora, but this time we just can’t help to consider some of its characters that, not only justify its use in our national cup, but make some people consider it necessary. We refer to its dowry to give body to the coffee which is unique for some roasters (especially for those who want to save money and do not want to fight with baristas), but easily substitutable by Arabica of some origins, mature and perfectly roasted for some other roasters.

Just put aside malice and consider only the technical part of the issue: the search of concentrate, thick coffees, almost colloidal. Those coffees that stand with success the horrible sugar test. Are still in fashion or are they as the kind of wine perfect to be tasted but that we do not drink?

Until about twenty years ago we looked for drinkability of wine: it was said that it had to be fresh and fruity. Then slowly the thesis of the major critics arose: fleshy, concentrated, muscular wines.  The companies sacrificed on the altar of economic business all their asset to increase the density of strains in the vineyard, to reduce the amount of water in the must, to build barriques since with a touch of American-woody their wine was "trendy". The result? The reduction of volumes consumed. Indeed, could you dine with an Amarone, an Australian Shiraz or a Chilean Cabernet with an alcohol content around 15%? Now the wine to drink is coming back, most suitable to French and Italian oenology that focus on elegance, not on surprise.

At this point we wonder if it is better to reconsider the coffee, does it really matter to have a "tablet" of coffee frequently having to suffer traces of earth, wet bark, damp basement floor, pharmacy and iodized phoenix usually accompanied by a good astringency? Please go back and teach people the style, offering an Italian espresso with a very fine cream, a taste and touch profile characterised by silkiness and a flavour distinguished by valuable notes of flowers and fresh fruit, and a hint of dried fruit and spices.

Espresso tasting courses in Poland

The International Institute of Coffee Tasters will organise three course in Bydgoszcz (Poland) in March:
– 17th: License Course
– 18th: Espresso Italiano Specialist
– 19th: The Science of Roasting, the Art of Blending

The courses will be taught in Italian by Luigi Odello, secretary general of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters. A translation in Polish will be available.

More information:
Mrs Elzbieta Wierzchowska
Ph. +48 660 748 024

Dont’ trust the origin

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

For the moment being it’s a niche, but we believe it’s bound to become big. We are speaking about single origin coffees. A recent investigation conducted by the University of Padova highlighted that also consumers are able to distinguish between a blend and single origin coffee. In this case too, from a sensory point of view, the winner, with statistically relevant results, was the blend. This clearly means that our roasters are truly very good at choosing coffees from all over the world, at making each type express its best characteristics and at creating unbeatable blends. However, there has been a genuine interest for single origins and this makes us think that this trend will lead to having a coffee menu at restaurants, a better-aware consumption of coffee at the coffee shop and to valuing the ritual of coffee at home.

The debate must be a serious one. Otherwise, the origin simply turns into a meaningless coat of arms thus losing its natural value. In this respect, the first thing to do is focus on how the issue is currently tackled: mentioning the origin conveys a false sense of homogeneity. Basically, when the end users read on a package “Brazil”, they immediately think that all the coffee from this big producer has its own common and homogeneous characteristics; specific features which make it possible to distinguish it from other coffees. This is not the case. But even when we speak about Guatemala Antigua, which is more specific, we cannot claim that there are specific traits which make it easy to distinguish it from other coffees of the same category. More than that, roasting methods have a major impact on the final result, something similar to the crucial influence that the fermentation technique has on the grapes and the type of wine. Put it in other words, we could have greater sensory differences between two coffees from Costa Rica which went through different types of roasting procedures compared to the differences between a Costa Rica and an Ethiopia which have been roasted in the same way.

So, if for wines there is Barbera (vine variety) of the Monferrato (area) of a certain producer, we should have something very similar for coffee. It is extremely important to never neglect the brand which conveys its philosophy and know-how to the final product. If we really want to value this new market segment, then the product should come with some explanatory notes on the specific characteristics of the origin, on the roasting methods and on the sensory traits that can be spotted when drinking the product from the cup. The info provided should be correct and mirror reality, it should not be general and some sort of poetry coming from creativity. A lot of work must be done on this: we are spotting severe mistakes with taste being mixed up with aromas and, especially, there is no correspondence between what is written and what is highlighted with sensory analysis. This disappoints the consumer and jeopardises not only the credibility of the reference but also of the entire market segment.

The markers of quality

by Roberto Zironi

He is professor of Food Industries at the University of Udine and president of the Department of Food Science in the same University. In addition, he is the chair of the scientific committee of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters and vice-president of the International Academy of Sensory Analysis.

The definition of specific markers which describe a coffee all throughout the production process makes it possible to monitor and optimize both its hygienic-sanitary and sensorial quality so that levels of acceptability can be set and anomalies in the composition of the final aroma can be spotted.

Among the various components which contribute to the creation of the aromatic profile of a coffee it is not easy to establish which of them can be defined as markers of quality in that it is necessary to mediate between the characteristics seen as related to the specific coffee and the place of origin and the market needs.

In order to identify the markers of quality for coffee it is necessary to examine the components which determine the positive aromatic characteristics typical of a specific coffee along with the components generated during the roasting process. The point is that while the flaws, as explained in the previous issue of Coffee Taster, come from a few chemical species, the positive elements are the result of the interaction of tens or hundreds of different molecules. Currently, the specialists are trying to identify the individual markers of quality or the simple connections between the elements transformed during the roasting process.

The chemical compounds that produce such distinguishing features are present in the raw material and they undergo major transformations during the roasting process which not only occasion significant transformation of the individual original compounds, but also combines them creating synergies and antagonisms which contribute to determining the final aroma of the beverage.

It is important to note what follows:

  • the body is given by fats, macromolecules and colloids;
  • the perceived acidity is given by the aliphatic volatile and non volatile acids, chlorogenic acids, phenol acids and inorganic acids;
  • the bitterness comes from compounds such as caffeine, trigonelline and chlorogenic as well as chinic acids;
  • the sweetness comes from the sugar compounds still present after the roasting process;
  • the fruity and flowery notes typical of coffees from south America are given by aldehydes, ketones and alyphates.

Moreover, there are several other sets of compounds which contribute to the overall aroma, for instance the furnas – which give the caramel note, pyrazines – toasted note, tiazoli, pyrroles, phenols and thiophenes.

The ratios between such compounds have an impact on quality. For example, the ratio between 4-vinilguaiacol and 4-etilguaiacol, elements which – taken on their own – are characterised by markedly different aromatic notes, is responsible for distinguishing traits, in terms of aroma, of the Arabica and Robusta.

In collaboration with: E.Cossio, F.Battistutta