I just spent a few days at Nuova Simonelli headquarters, outside Ancona, for the their Coffee Quality Revolution event. I was there to give a talk on how coffee quality affects profit from all industry standpoints. VST Inc.’s Vince Fedele and Dr. Sauro Vittor from Camarino University were also among the speakers. Attendees were from several countries and all segments of the industry.
They keynote and other presentations were held in the sanctuary of Fiastra Maceratas, and old monastery that’s been converted to a hotel—a cool place to have a meeting, like being in the church of coffee for a couple of days.
A major highlight of the event was a cupping demonstration that compared a lighter-roast Cup of Excellence Guatemala with a darker traditional Italian blend. Deep, dark espresso blends are cherished by Italians not just for history’s sake, but for their robustness and ability to cut through food and finish a meal. But with tradition accounted for, the cupping explored the possibility for space in Italy for lighter roasts. It was nice to see the roasters open to the idea of both flavor profiles having a place in Italy’s coffee culture. Perhaps in the morning, the Italian roasters thought, a lighter roast could be served in a cappuccino or macchiato. Not to replace their traditional coffees, but to grab hold of the third wave and differentiate themselves as specialty.
Italy, like everywhere else, needs to stay in touch with global trends and satisfy its big-city markets like Rome and Milan, where there are plenty of international transplants and tourists seeking third-wave specialty coffee. If these roasters lead the way, this could provide great growth for specialty in Italy.