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What do Italians think of fermented coffees?

In recent years, coffees with a pronounced fermented smell have appeared on the international market. This characteristic is given to them by new ways of processing green coffee and has become quite sought after and appreciated especially on Asian markets and in some niches.

The International Institute of Coffee Tasters (Iiac) classifies fermented odors as a family of defects which includes, among others, the smell of rotten fruit, vinegar and stinker bean. Traditionally, Italian roasters have always considered beans with these characteristics as defective and therefore dangerous for the aromatic profile of the blend. Other markets, on the other hand, have partially turned towards the search for fermented coffees.

A wide debate has therefore developed on what is the desirable level of ripeness of the fruit, in particular on what is the limit before being able to speak of a defect. In fact, supporters of fermented coffees are looking for an extremely fruity cup, while detractors already perceive the smell of rotten fruit.

Generally, the tolerance of Italians towards fermented smells is not high, especially in coffee. In fact, the Italian blend is a search for balance between roasted, fruity and floral, dried fruit, nuts and spicy smells. Introducing excessively fermented coffee into a blend means bringing smells into the cup that are not valuable to the average Italian and that could even remind him or her of those of organic waste.

Photo by Unsplash / Delightin Dee


If you have any questions about coffee in Italy, leave them in the comments and we will be happy to answer them!


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