Andrea Sguazzin, official coffee sniffer: “You should drink without sugar”

CONEGLIANO – Your profession? Smell the coffee. Distinctive aromas and peculiarities, unique flavors that make the grain qualitatively perfect. There are not many coffee quality certificates in the world. Six thousand on the planet, in Italy 39. In the Veneto 3. One in the Marche. Is called Andrea Sguazzinborn in 1985: he is from Piedmont, but has now moved to Conegliano, where he is director and professor of Meet the Coffee Academy, which in the heart of the city deals with comprehensive training in the world of coffee. For eight years Sca Authorized Coach, three Q Arabica Graders and five Ambassadors of the Manuel Caffè brand in the world, Sguazzin, within the company, together with the owner Mauro De Giusti, is in charge of quality control of the raw material. Annunsadolo, of course. Coffee from all over the world passes under your nostrils, for meticulous control able to certify that taste and quality are perfect.

Q Arabica Grader: What does it mean?
“Quite simply, it is a quality certifier. That may seem easy, but it is not. It requires a lot of commitment, passion and years of total immersion in this fantastic world of coffee.

How many are you?
“In the world about 6000, in Italy 39, in Veneto 3, in the province of Treviso are alone. The other two friends are in other provinces.

A specialized job, then. What is your fieldwork?
«As quality certifiers we can work in three areas: in the plantation, as a raw foodist in companies of import export, or, as in my case, in the toast where does a control of quality to buy the raw material . In addition, I deal with school training at the Sapere Coffee Academy as a teacher.

What is a typical day like for a Q student?
“The routine of a Q grader is to prepare the samples we order directly from plantations or raw foodists. When the sample arrives, the green is checked to check that there are no defects in the grains that have yet to be toasted, then the humidity and density are checked with a special instrument. After these first three checks, the sample is toasted following an Sca (Specialty Coffee Association) protocol and international standards. A 24-hour rest period follows, after which the sample is tasted with the Cupping method and the Sca Cupping Form is filled in, an international evaluation form made up of ten attributes linked to the aroma, taste and flavor of the coffee. that is being analyzed ».

“At this point the mathematical score goes from 1 to 100. If the sample reaches a score of 80 or more it is considered a specialty coffee, below 80 points it is considered a commercial coffee. In Manuel, in addition to the 18 blends, we also have, after more than a year of research, a specialty coffee that comes from Papua New Guinea with a score of 86 ».
According to her, there is a comparable place, for example in our Heritage hills Unesco, where is coffee produced better than in other parts of the world?
“I would say no. It’s a matter of personal taste and quality of the raw material. Potentially the best coffee could be obtained from any producing country. All producing countries fall more or less in the same strip between the tropics of cancer and that of Capricorn.When we decided to look for a particular coffee: the choice of Papua New Guinea was also influenced by the fact that it could certainly intrigue the consumer who today is used to hearing only talk about Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, etc.”.

How does it become Q Grader?
“Simple (smile), signing up for a course that lasts six days. But jokes aside, it’s not that simple. After six days you will have to pass 19 exams, without losing a single one. Only one exam is written, 100 general coffee culture questions. It may seem simple, but these 6 days must come with experience, study, and considerable sensory baggage. We cannot improvise. It’s all the result of a life path that takes you to these 19 exams. Maybe that’s why we are few in the world.

So we have to study a lot. By the way, how does the school you run work?
“The Sapere Coffee Academy offers training courses on all aspects of coffee and, depending on the modules and levels, the courses range from one to five days. The lessons, according to your needs, can be in Italian, English and Spanish and you can register and request information about the educational programs by sending an email to or by visiting the school’s social pages “.

Your next career goal?
“Becoming a Q instructor. It will still take at least 4 or 5 years to get there, hoping to get it. There are only 50 in the world. I would like to be number 51 ».

Last question: coffee with or without sugar?
“It simply came to our notice then. Absolutely without ”.

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