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Nespresso shares its coffee expertise with professional sommeliers in the Nespresso Coffee Sommelier™ Program

Matching wine expertise with Nespresso coffee expertise

Dense, velvety, smooth, intense… Delicate, fruity, balanced… These are some of the adjectives commonly used to describe wine. They also apply to the description of coffee.

While coffee has its own, distinct characteristics (such as bitterness), the parallels between coffee and wine are telling. Flavour, acidity and body are three fundamentals common to both worlds. Much like wine, some of the most complex flavour profiles can be found in coffee; coffee too can be paired with food and beverages to create an unforgettable dining experience.

With the right knowledge and pairing, coffee can be the perfect end to a meal. Consumers today are increasingly sophisticated in their knowledge of fine dining, and culinary professionals must create memorable experiences to meet their growing expectations.

“Today’s sommelier needs in-depth knowledge of all products brought to the table, including coffee, the closing note to the meal that can truly make it a symphonic masterpiece,” explained Giuseppe Vaccarini, President of the Professional Association of Italian Sommeliers (ASPI) and co-author of the Nespresso Coffee Codex™.

With this in mind, Nespresso created the Nespresso Coffee Sommelier™ Program in 2009. Matching the expertise of wine professionals with the unique Nespresso coffee expertise, this educational programme was set up for professional sommeliers to discover the intriguing world of premium coffee, enabling them to recommend specific coffees to their guests – just as they would do with wine.

“Sommeliers play a defining role in the overall enjoyment of a meal and dining experience,” said Edouard Thomas, International Sensory Manager at Nestlé Nespresso SA. With the Nespresso Coffee Sommelier™ Program, selected sommeliers are able to further develop their skills to include a fine appreciation and knowledge of coffee, to provide diners with a complete gourmet experience.”


Approaching coffee like wine

The programme combines theory and practice, applying the sommelier’s vocabulary of wine tasting to the art of tasting coffee. Participants learn to adapt their existing sensory skills to the entire aromatic palette of premium coffee. These future experts in Grand Cru coffee learn to identify and describe the characteristics of coffee needed to make ideal pairings with other meal elements such as savoury foods, chocolate, water and spirits. The subtleties of each of the Nespresso Grands Crus will reveal even more when paired correctly.

The future experts in Grand Cru coffee
learn to make ideal pairings with other
meal elements.

“I discovered a wide range of aromas and flavours that I would never have expected to find in coffee”, said Cristina Perez, head sommelier at Wellies restaurant in Mallorca, Spain. “There is a coffee for everyone and a coffee for each moment… You just have to choose. The Nespresso Coffee Sommelier™ Program made it easier for me to guide my customers to the right coffee choice.”

The training is based on the Nespresso Coffee Codex, a pioneering reference handbook detailing a complete methodology for tasting the Nespresso Grands Crus and harmonising them with a variety of flavours and culinary products – to deliver the ultimate tasting experience to consumers.

“At Nespresso, we share the same passion with gourmet professionals to understand true product quality – down to the specific identification of sensory profiles – and how these elements interact to craft unique dining experiences for their guests. We believe that premium coffee can, and should, play a role in this experience. That’s why we’ve developed both the Nespresso Coffee Codex™ and Coffee Sommelier Program™,” explained Marco Zancolo, Head of B2B Channel at Nestlé Nespresso SA.


Building on synergies in the world of high gastronomy

Nespresso builds on its partnerships with the world’s leading gastronomy establishments, such as Relais & Châteaux and Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, to select its candidates for the Coffee Sommelier™ Program. Four seminars a year welcome sommeliers from the finest restaurants in the world to receive this unique training at the Nespresso Production Centre in Avenches, Switzerland. Since the launch of the programme, Nespresso has welcomed and trained over 140 of the world’s top sommeliers.

Upon completing the programme, participants receive certification as a Nespresso Coffee Sommelier™, which recognises their specialisation in coffee. They also come away equipped with the added skills to create delightful sensory experiences for their guests using highest quality coffee.

“After being introduced to the Coffee Codex three years ago through the Coffee Sommelier™ Program, I have become much more confident in recommending coffee with a meal or other drinks, and in pairing chocolate and coffee,” said Franck Gérôme, Head Sommelier of Sharrow Bay Hotel in Cumbria, England. ”It is like wine: there are some rules you need to respect in tasting, but the more you practice the better you become.”


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