airline coffee

United perks up its coffee offering

United coffee art

If you’ve been disappointed with the quality of the coffee being served on your United Airlines flights, get ready for a tasty jolt of something far better.

As announced last November, United is bringing on board coffee from Italian roaster illy – starting in July.

Coffee is so important to so many people that United has not only gone to Italy to get the new coffee, in preparation for the July roll out the carrier sent a team of managers to illy’s intensive University of Coffee at the Culinary Institute of America’s campus in St. Helena, California to learn just what goes into growing, roasting and preparing great coffee.

I tagged along and, during the highly-caffeinated course (at one point I had to go walk off the buzz) students conducted many tastings and learned about everything from the “discovery” of coffee to how coffee is best cultivated, harvested, processed, roasted, stored, ground and — of course — brewed. Grounds covered included the many variables that can affect the taste and quality of coffee, how to make a perfect espresso and how to add foam art to espresso-based drinks.

It takes at least 50 beans to make one cup of coffee, but just one bad bean to ruin a cup. Class exercise-find the bad beans.

Take a look at my USA TODAY story about how United’s newly minted Coffee Experts will spread the word.

United team wiht their cups