“When it comes to Specialty coffee, we have to be believers!”: these are the passionate words of Cristina Caroli, coordinator of SCA Italia, the Italian Specialty coffee community, which has members ranging from growers to roasters, retailers and baristas.
“I feel like a Flintstone of Specialty coffee,” she explains, “because every coffee is special for me: since 2000, I have offered a list of different single-origin coffees and blends, so normal coffee does not exist for me. When people ask me for one, I simply correct them by asking: “Would you prefer a classic coffee?”. And I offer them a cup of 80% excellent Robusta and 20% Arabica from central/south America. It has a distinctly creamy texture and a fragrant taste that immediately hits the palate. It is the perfect morning coffee for those who do not want to think, but to have a comforting espresso with its warm flavours and fragrances, such as hazelnut and chocolate. The list of coffees at our bar (Aroma, in Bologna) has always changed each week, featuring at least 5 coffees from different micro roasters, with a wide range of fragrances and prices. My passion is helping people to choose a Specialty coffee and to assist them in the experience in order to make it enjoyable and satisfying.”
Every Specialty coffee conceals a world. A world that enchants you when you begin to discover it and to understand. “With these excellent coffees,” explains Cristina Caroli, “you can have a different experience, both as professionals and as customers, which we can better understand if we compare it to daily habits. To put it simply, the difference between a normal bar and a bar where you can taste gourmet coffee is like the difference between fast food and a good restaurant where you make a conscious decision to go and expect high quality. Specialty coffee is a trend that must be experienced. And if the trend leads to more sophisticated, refined, educational sensations, then let’s embrace this experience!”
SCA Italia and the value chain
Given the success of the Milano Coffee Festival, the coordinator of SCA Italia emphasizes the importance of this historical moment, in which people are so receptive that it is important to explain to them that “there is a big difference between coffee made to be gulped down like medicine and coffee with incredible shades of flavour. But we need baristas and enthusiasts who want to learn more, participating in many events devoted to the theme, where you can come into contact with great expertise and many innovations and above all meet storytellers who recount the history of a coffee and describe its aroma. I love SCA because it was the first organization to promote Specialty coffee and the value chain from bean to cup, in which every operator has a role and must carry on the work of their predecessors.”
“We need,” she concludes, “competent, free-thinking operators trained in specialized schools, of which your MUMAC Academy is an excellent example, boasting technologically advanced equipment such as the FAEMA and CIMBALI machines and thanks to the continuous training of its tutors, who are involved in the development of SCA. In a market that is becoming increasingly technological, there is a need for storytellers, operators who analyse and explain the culture and quality that they present in a cup of coffee. In this respect, women have something more to offer, since they can possess the intuition, grace, empathy and sensitivity that produces a beautiful story, while being just as tenacious. Because we must not forget that Specialty coffee requires you to be a believer – you have to believe in it!”