Turns out when you go to a coffee tasting, you have to pace yourself even more than you would when going wine tasting.
Similar to a wine tasting, guests were instructed to sample (sips, really) in a “blind tasting” of nine distinct coffees from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Nicaragua, and Rwanda, and then cast their vote for this year’s Coffee Lovers Choice Award. Participants were provided with flavor notes on little sign boards, so we knew what to look for. Really, it was just about which one you liked best.
But even bigger than coffee, the tasting was just one of several promotional events sponsored by Illy as it tours two Michelin-starred chefs, Antonia Klugmann and Alfio Ghezzi, for an “exclusive residency.” Both chefs and their teams were cooking furiously in the kitchen, and while I’m sure all of it was tasty, it did not seem like the kind of food that would pair with coffee. (Veal shank and spaghetti for breakfast? A bit heavy, no?)
But the tiramisu with coffee cream, made-to-order, was the perfect indulgent breakfast.
The Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award is meant to recognize coffee growers who demonstrate excellence in taste while in maintaining sustainable quality. While I did place a vote (voting matters!), I didn’t stick around to see who won as I was in desperate need of (real) breakfast to counter all the espresso that had shot to my head.