Vittoria discusses its latest Lab Release series of blends, and the importance of pushing for innovation in a competitive field.
There’s no room for complacency in the coffee world. Searching for new ideas and activating them is what makes the top companies stand out from the rest, and it’s this mindset that pushes coffee roaster Vittoria to explore new avenues.
The company’s new Lab Release series is one such innovation that showcases seasonal, specialty Arabica coffees from around the world.
“We’re forever curious about coffee, and we wanted to release a new series that explores new flavours and techniques through partnering with innovative farmers and coffee alchemists who share our scientific approach to the art and science of espresso,” says Vittoria Managing Director Rolando Schirato.
Vittoria has created and unveiled the first blend of the release, named Blend No. 58. It features a naturally processed Brazilian coffee, a washed Sumatran, and two Colombian origins, including a Sidra from producer Edwin Norena’s farm, Campo Hermoso, just outside of Quindio.
Edwin combines the generational knowledge he learned from his father and grandfather, and has experimented with a new processing style.
The cherries in the blend are selectively harvested when their sugar concentrations go beyond 24 Brix before being soaked in water for three hours. They then undergo the initial anaerobic cherry fermentation process using ‘mossto’, a technique whereby crushed coffee cherry pulp is added to influence the fermentation.
“Edwin is literally adding extra coffee juices and selected microbes from a previous fermentation batch of the same cherries,” says Rolando. “The process helps to enhance chemical reactions during coffee fermentation giving the naturally-occurring microbes extra sugar to process. The result being a highly amplified flavour profile.”
Once the beans are harvested, they are washed, pulped and sun-dried for 22 days before the Vittoria team finds the right blend and roast combinations.
Rolando says the creation process is a partnership between the Schirato family and Vittoria’s in-house team of roasters and quality assurance specialists.
“In this case, we cupped a wide range of high-grade Arabicas from around the world searching for a green bean that could provide a unique dimension, leading to the discovery of the anaerobic fermented Sidra from Colombia,” he says.
The roasting process included 23 steps measuring a range of variables during and post-process.
“We roasted countless small batch samples on our one-kilogram Probatino and 12-kilogram Probatone roasters, altering variables such as temperatures, air flow and roast times to find the right blend profile,” Rolando says. “Every blend was also assessed across multiple roast days, providing valuable insights into its performance over time.”
The process was further elevated thanks to Vittoria’s recent integration of the Metrohm Omnis system.
“We’re the first roaster in Australia to use this system which allows us to scientifically analyse coffee for acidity, pH, density, brix, total dissolved solids, and caffeine levels,” Rolando says.
The end result is one Rolando describes as “a beautifully balanced cup with deep malt and chocolate undertones, hints of honey and maple syrup before a lingering raspberry flavour”.
The new blend, which presents a sweeter cup when paired with milk, and slightly elevated acidity as espresso, was officially unveiled at the 2023 Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE).
“In our view, there’s no better place to introduce it than an industry event where every detail, nuance, and innovation is embraced, respected and celebrated,” Rolando says. “We chose MICE because it was a place where the intricate balance between art and science would be appreciated by those who truly understand and cherish the nuances of coffee creation.
“[The release] is not confined by the need to scale up supply. Instead, we embarked on a quest to discover something truly distinctive, a blend that would capture the essence of our heritage and infuse it with the spirit of innovation.”
Rolando hopes the release can bring more attention to the innovation that takes place behind the scenes at Vittoria. He says established brands such as his, can have trouble gaining attention of the industry when others are looking for the next new thing.
“Amid this quest for novelty, our aspiration was not to capture fleeting attention, but to articulate the enduring value of experience,” he says. “With every passing year, we’re refining, experimenting, and evolving, ensuring that the Vittoria name continues to be woven with threads of innovation and time-honoured expertise.
“We’ve been roasting coffee in Australia for 65 years, and we’re continually pushing the boundaries of roasting.”
For more information, visit www.vittoriacoffee.com
This article appears in the October 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.