At the moment you are living in?
I live in Florence (Tuscany).
What is for you one special experience you made in your life?
The most beautiful experience I made so far was experimenting that there can be true friendship and you can almost touch it; and also that life - even though short - is to be fully experienced. In the field of coffee, the most intense experience I had was when I visited coffee plantations in Guatemala, in the Huehuetenango region, where thousands of families grow the Arabica plants producing coffee for the organization ‘slow food': giving a shape and a soul to those beans changed my approach to a cup of espresso forever!
What is your actual job or maybe your real profession?
At the moment, I am professionally qualified as a coffee taster and expert, particularly as regards espresso coffee, this qualification being due to my academic career that enabled me to get a PhD in sciences, technologies and economy of coffee industry, a diploma I obtained from the University of Trieste. I have been a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe for quite a few years and I am a Scae Authorized Trainer, Master Barista; I obtained the Coffee Diploma not very long ago.
When did you have your first contact with coffee?
As a child, when I was 10 years old, I lived in Trieste that is the most important port in Italy for green coffee imports. My grandfather and my father were professional "marine & cargo surveyors" and many of their controls regarded sacks of green coffee. My distant memories of coffee date back to summer vacations, when I finished school and my father would take me to the harbor warehouses where I used to have fun jumping on canvas sacks of green coffee weighing 60kg, while my father would evaluate and check the quality of the coffee that had been unloaded from ships coming from these countries where it is grown.
How did you come to coffee and how did your coffee education go on?
After I completed high school, when I was 18 years old, I continued with the family tradition by becoming an expert in merceology. Unlike my father and grandfather, I took some courses to specialize in coffee, and was fascinated by lectures at the Trieste Coffee Association. In 1996, I bought a laboratory coffee roaster, a grinder and an espresso machine to begin roasting samples of coffee I collected during my visits to the port warehouses. Therefore, my degree thesis and that for the PhD were focused on coffee: the first one was a statistical research work on the trends of coffee prices worldwide and the second one was on the perception of espresso coffee quality by consumers.
Which is the best coffee you ever had?
Which was the best coffee I ever had? Many mono-origin coffees and blends come back to my mind, but I believe that I will never forget the one I had on St. Mark's square in Venice when I paid 15.000 liras (around 8 Euros) for a cup of coffee, 10.000 liras for the coffee and 5.000 liras for live music being played side by side to the tables on the square. It was a real emotion to drink that coffee exactly where, ever since the XVI century, generations of people have discovered and appreciated the most famous beverage in the world.
Where is your personal best coffee spot?
My favorite moment is when I am on a vacation, enjoying camping and kayaking: early in the morning, right after I get out of my sleeping bag on some desert beach accessible from the water only, I prepare myself a coffee with a Bacchi espresso machine using a camping gas stove and the mono-origin Guatemala coffee produced for ‘slow food' in the Huehuetenango region. This is a unique experience, at dawn, when only small waves dying on the empty beach break the sound of silence.
The world without coffee means for you...?
Without coffee, the world would be so sad! To me coffee is enhanced by the espresso method which makes this beverage become a truly inimitable sensory experience.
How does your world besides coffee look like (hobbies, interests...)?
My interests, besides coffee, range from jazz music to cooking, without forgetting various sports, among which the one I love most of all: riding a competition bicycle.
Contact Andrej on dc club.