Coffee Science Foundation to advance understanding of coffee

Former Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan once said ‘knowledge is power, information is liberating, and education is the premise of progress in every society’. Simonelli Group leaders explain How it plans to support the same sentiment in 2020.

While research bodies continue to invest in important environmental studies to help secure the future production of the coffee industry, a new partnership between Italian coffee machine manufacturer Simonelli Group and the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has formed to advance the understanding of coffee.

The SCA entity, titled the Coffee Science Foundation (CSF), was formally launched in April 2019, but Simonelli’s partnership was only made public in October 2019 at HostMilano in front of hundreds of supporters.

“We believe this foundation will benefit the wider coffee community and unlock the answers to many unanswered questions in the scientific evolution of our industry,” says Lauro Fioretti, Simonelli Group Project Manager.

Simonelli started its commitment to research seven years ago. It began through a partnership of Italy’s University of Ancona and its mechanical engineering department, followed by the University of Camerino and its chemistry faculty. This collaboration then saw the unveiling of the International Hub for Coffee Research and Innovation, a centre for research and studies in the academic world and in the coffee machine sector.

Going forward, however, Fioretti says Simonelli wanted to make its commitment to research even more global, resulting in the signing of a contract to become CSF’s first major research partner of specific new projects.

“Simonelli Group has long been committed to supporting the global specialty coffee community through the SCA and World Barista Championships to make coffee better. This contribution is a testament to that commitment, particularly in the field of science and research,” says Yannis Apostolopoulos, CEO of the SCA.

Executive Director of the CSF Peter Giuliano adds that Simonelli Group’s partnership is a “pioneering and visionary contribution” that comes at a critical time. “Science and research are more important than ever in keeping our industry sustainable,” Giuliano said in a statement.

Simonelli Group acknowledges the importance of industry contribution in empowering the progression of research projects, but Fioretti says such support fits perfectly with Simonelli’s company values.

“One of the three pillars of Simonelli is innovation, but it’s impossible to innovate, improve the quality of a product, or be an industry leader without a commitment to research,” Fioretti tells Global Coffee Report.

The first major project for 2020 will be titled “Towards a deeper understanding of espresso extraction”. For the next four years, the SCA and Simonelli Group will collaborate on sensory evaluation, technical and data analysis using modern techniques to create a scientific understanding on the connection between extraction parameters and flavour. It will also explore espresso extraction standards, and the resulting effects on brewed coffee flavour.

From 2017 to 2019, the CSF completed research on “A deeper understanding of coffee extraction” for filter application and received positive feedback on its results.

Simonelli Group CEO Fabio Ceccarani says the CSF will take a similar approach to espresso extraction, which is already a core investment for the machine manufacturer on a daily basis.

“This partnership with CSF represents our deep commitment to the scientific process, our love for espresso, and our desire to understand it better,” he says.

“In terms of sensory analysis, we want to be as global as possible so we are looking for active participants in Europe, the Americas, and Asia Pacific so that globally we can have representation by a range of different cultures and countries.”

Once a business plan is approved and research is underway, the CSF aims to have quarterly meetings with Simonelli to assess the results and disseminate the information across SCA channels and published resources. This includes integrating the findings into the SCA education system, coffee skills programs, and Roasters Guild.

When asked what information he hopes to uncover in the research, Fioretti’s expression indicates he’s got a fairly good idea already.

“I know what I hope to find from the results, but there’s always a little trepidation with new experiments and what we will find,” he says. “Every time you dive into an area of the unknown, you discover something new, something more than what we already knew.

“This project is part of a bigger project, something very exiting that’s still to be unveiled. But what we do know is that it will open doors for more projects on espresso and its future.”

While Simonelli is passionate about the pillar of innovation, Fioretti says its greatest focus leading into 2020 is the consumer.

“The consumer is king. We’ve addressed their needs in the development of the Victoria Arduino Eagle One and Nuova Simonelli Appia Life machines, and now we’re moving the idea of innovation into a new area of development,” Fioretti says.

“We must work together to drive knowledge and improve our products. We’re only at stage one on this important project and there’s much more to come, but the future of research begins now.”

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