Tasting coffee could almost be qualified as a national Italian sport. I have participated in various Lavazza workshops at Salone del Gusto and they never disappoint. Lavazza has proven to the participants in these classes that they pay attention to detail and ensure that their staff of professionals is highly trained and skilled.
The workshop entitled How to Taste Coffee like a Professional was incredibly interesting. For those unfamiliar with the practice of tasting coffee it can be just as complex as tasting wine, beer or chocolate. We began with the psychology of perception which can be divided into 3 categories of influence: neurological, individual and social. Meaning the wiring of your brain, your individual tastes and your social interactions or cultural upbringing can have an effect on how you perceive things.
The way we perceive most anything placed in front of us is broken up by our senses as follows: 40% sight, 30% sound, 5% touch, 5% taste and 1% nose. Smell is by far the most difficult sense to train and pin down. To prove this we did a smell test with perfume strips. We were provided with 9 strips of paper all scented differently and asked to write down what we identified the smells as. I guessed 4 correctly.
We sampled different espressos: high altitude Colombian, Brazilian arabicas, robusta from India, Ethiopian kaffa and the Lavazza Grand Reserve Blend. Flavor profile included fresh fruit, hazelnuts, dark chocolate, almonds, citrus, honey and dry fruits. As a coffee lover, it was an experience to be remembered and has peaked my interest to hopefully in the future explore the coffee tasting world in more depth.