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.