Brazil Taster Doesn't Like Coffee
Aug. 09, 1998
POCOS DE CALDAS, Brazil (AP) _ Eder Latronico has spent 36 years tasting coffee, but don't let that fool you. He hates the stuff.
``I never drink coffee. I just taste it and spit it out. At home I drink tea,'' said Latronico, 58, who works as a coffee classifier at the Poco de Caldas Coffee Cooperative.
The co-op buys coffee from hundreds of farmers, and Latronico's job is to rate each lot and advise roasters how to get a uniform taste for their trademark blends using the available stocks.
Five days a week during the four-month harvest season, Latronico lines up hundreds of cups of coffee on a turntable and flicks a spoonful from each cup into his mouth, then spits it out. All this is done with breathtaking speed as the table spins below him.
``What worries me is that even though I spit it out, some of the coffee seeps down. And if I have to get a new spittoon every two years due to corrosion, just imagine what it does to my stomach,'' he said.
The coffee Latronico slurps up and spits out isn't normal coffee, either. He roasts each sample only lightly and gives it a coarse grind.
Latronico says the light roast gives him a better idea of the coffee's true quality. The coarse grind is so the dregs fall to the bottom of the cup and don't end up in his mouth.
``It's a good way to taste coffee. It's not a good way to drink it,'' Latronico concedes.