Karsten Ranitzsch is “Head of Coffee”. His profession is green coffee and product development at Nespresso. He ensures that the best coffee ends up in the small colourful capsules. Personally he prefers his coffee black. ADAM met Dortmund‘s George Clooney for an interview.
Interview Yvonne Beck
You have a very cool job title “Head of Coffee”. What is that and how do you become it?
Basically it’s about choosing the right coffee, selecting the region from which we buy the coffee, the composition of the products right through to the finished blend. We conduct consumer studies, test different prototypes, to find out which new trends are around and which future developments we should aim to master. My first professional step was training at a medium-sized coffee roasting house in my home town of Dortmund. From there I progressed to the big, wide world of coffee.
You must have a good sense of smell and taste. Can we train the senses?
Everyone can taste, but every individual has a different level of sensitivity. One person’s taste can be more sensitive to acidic, the other to sweet – every person has a certain disposition. The most important factor is practice and training your taste, because what we taste is relatively difficult to describe. We have to learn to be able to judge personal preferences as objectively as possible. On the other hand we have to develop suitable vocabulary to communicate these tastes to colleagues.
Do you still like to drink coffee in your private life and if so, what do you prefer to drink?
I drink about twelve cups a day. My coffee types vary throughout the day, depending on my mood. I start the day mostly with a lungo, during the day I tend to drink a lighter espresso. I take care to drink the right coffee with my meals. Coffee and food should form a harmonious flavour composition. After chocolate cake I prefer to drink something more intensive. After lemon cake or a fish dish I like a floral espresso. It’s the same principle as with wine.
With milk and sugar or pure?
Pure! My tip is, if black coffee is too strong for you, you should choose a lighter and less bitter coffee type rather than adding sugar or cream.
Are there large regional differences in coffee preferences
Yes, different countries, different customs or tastes. This is evident in Switzerland. While the German-Swiss tend to add milk to their coffee, the Romandy prefers to drink it black.
Coffee is…in three words … I have been surrounded by coffee now for over 30 years and it remains a very exciting field, as there is always something new happening. Therefore I would say: I can’t be without it!
Photos Copyrights: Nespresso
„After a good coffee you can even forgive your parents.“