This past month has consisted of various dynamic and interesting courses, as well as some tough exams. We have been learning everything about brewing methods and technologies; chemical compounds present in the bean; and post-harvesting methods. As I mentioned last month, our classroom is located on the premises of illy Caffè. Besides being able to eat the amazing food of the company’s cafeteria, we are very fortunate to be situated in their headquarters as we are exposed to the latest technology and practices of a company that has been run by a family of legendary scientists and innovators.
A few weeks ago, for our brewing course, we had the chance to spend an entire week receiving classes at Universitá del Caffé, which is also located at the illy headquarters. During this class, we were guided every step of the way by a great team of experienced professors and professional baristas that taught us excellent brewing techniques and all the factors involved in making the perfect espresso.
I enjoyed our course at Universitá del Caffé so much that I decided to speak with the Director, Mr. Moreno Faina, to get a little more insight on this dynamic program and learn about its inception. The Università del Caffè was first set up in Naples in 1999, and later moved to Trieste, to the illy Caffè headquarters. With 25 branches worldwide, they strive to be “a center of excellence created to promote, support and communicate the culture of quality coffee worldwide, through training.” I am sure I can speak for the whole class in saying that we had a lot of fun practicing our latte art and experimenting with different beverage recipes (Some classmates, whose names I will not mention, had extra fun with all the recipes that involved liquor).
Moreover, while most of our professors come from a wide array of participating universities, there are also various industry professionals and illy Caffè employees that bring real case scenarios and experience to the class. Additionally, many of our classes have consisted of learning outside the classroom. In fact, Trieste contains a very important port for Italy and the Mediterranean. This has given us the opportunity to visit a couple of companies such as DEMUS, a decaffeination plant; Sandalj, a trading company; and Pacorini, a worldwide logistics company, which has made our learning experience dynamic, while giving us an inside glance at prestigious companies that operate within the coffee industry.
This past month, we also had the honor of receiving classes with Sunalini N. Menon, an amazing teacher and passionate woman from India. Sunalini is the founder of a consultancy firm based in Bangalore called Coffeelab Private Limited. She taught us about post-harvesting processes as well as sorting and cupping defects. Her class was not only informative, enjoyable, and insightful, but without knowing, Sunalini also showed me what you can achieve when you are truly passionate about something.
The expertise that we are being exposed to, both from illy Caffè as well as from guest lectures, have definitely added tremendous value to our courses. I am looking forward to the remaining three months, as we continue to learn, grow, and deepen our understanding in everything that is behind our daily cup of Joe.