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Favorite Italian Coffee


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When in Italy, what's your favorite brand of Italian coffee?

I'm asking because we are in the throes of deciding what brand to use in our new restaurant, and would love to hear some biased opinions!

Grazie mille!

We start our day with Lavazza Gold, but I don't knock Illy.

Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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ciao hathor,

Tazza d'Oro here, but probably because we've spent more time in Rome.

Are you going to be grinding the beans in-house? Roast freshness and grinding are probably more important than the brand!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Ciao! I have the weirdest e-mail notification....it only works sometimes. I thought that no one was drinking coffee in Italy! :blink:

I'm just learning about the coffee distributors, and to my knowledge, there are no local coffee roasters. The system seems to be that you choose a coffee brand, and they come with the machines, the cups, the grinders etc. It's a whole package.

Most of these systems, you grind the beans as you need them, the grinder is part of the package.

I personally like Illy, but they are proving difficult for small fry like us.

I also have a thing for the coffee at the AutoGrills (sort of like the rest stops on NJ Turnpike..but you get REAL cafe!). I'm not sure if it's because you are in a state of desperation when you stop there, or if they just have good coffee!

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Ciao!  I have the weirdest e-mail notification....it only works sometimes. I thought that no one was drinking coffee in Italy!  :blink:

I'm just learning about the coffee distributors, and to my knowledge, there are no local coffee roasters.  The system seems to be that you choose a coffee brand, and they come with the machines, the cups, the grinders etc. It's a whole package.

Most of these systems, you grind the beans as you need them, the grinder is part of the package.

I personally like Illy, but they are proving difficult for small fry like us.

I also have a thing for the coffee at the AutoGrills (sort of like the rest stops on NJ Turnpike..but you get REAL cafe!).  I'm not sure if it's because you are in a state of desperation when you stop there, or if they just have good coffee!

That's what I'd heard about the system - you buy the whole works (paying for the beans and getting the machines and service along with them) - other than buying your own espresso machine and grinder, it's gotta be the easiest way to go, as I think there's a fairly high learning curve for those machines. As well as a fairly high price for the good ones.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 2 weeks later...
I know that it doesn't directly answer your question, but you might want to consider looking into a local coffee roaster.  They'll be in a better position to directly meet your needs and your coffee will be fresher.  You'll also be supporting the local community and foodways.

I fully support Beto's response here. Find a local roaster who really knows his/her stuff and is buying quality beans. Then use those beans before they've gone a week to ten days past roast date. A local roaster is someone who is there for you, will work with you and help you refine your offerings to your public. There is no accounting for local tastes! When you think of all the possibilities - which beans roasted to what degree - you may end up creating, with your roaster, a bean-plus-roast that is quite specific to the desires of the people who walk into your restaurant.

How's this: buy locally roasted beans to cut down the carbon footprint - it's bad enough for the environment that they have to be transported once, why transport them again after roasting?

That said, I had a Segafredo espresso con panna today in Rochester, NY, and it knocked my socks off.

Lonnie

"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

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Lonnie, I fully appreciate what you and Beto are saying, and if there was a local roaster, I would be all for it. The system is a little different here in that it's a package deal....the supplier comes with the machine, the grinder, the cups, the saucers and even the sugar packets.

The Italians are very, very picky about their coffee and most grind the coffee right before making it.

If they are finished installing our bar, I'll take some photos and give you an update on the coffee we are going with.

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I haven't been fortunate enough to try any Italian coffees in Italy. Here in cafes in the US the Illy I've had was consistently better than the LaVazza but neither was very fresh.

A former GF brought home a kilo bag of LaVazza for me from Italy a few years back. It was black with gold lettering - one I'd had not previously seen here. It was the best commercial big brand (i.e. not from an independent roaster) I've ever had before or since.

The Illy I tried in Europe - when freshly ground - was far superior to what I've had here - but I still preferred the LaVazza. I tried Segafreddo in San Francisco a year or two back but it wasn't freshly ground and was mediocre as it was served.

Therein lies the challenge of making and serving consistently good espresso: every single step of the process - from the growing and processing of the bean to the storage, transport, roasting and pulling of the shots - is crucial. One misstep in that chain can result in shots that are average at best and horrid at worst.

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We're going with Vergnano.

They are a smaller, boutique coffee, not generally used in coffee bars, but in restaurants as you can only make 2 'doses' or cups at a time.

Anybody familiar with them?

I think 2 of us will go up to their Academy in the fall for a complete coffee immersion course...what fun!

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We're going with Vergnano.

They are  a smaller, boutique coffee, not generally used in coffee bars, but in restaurants as you can only make 2 'doses' or cups at a time.

Anybody familiar with them?

I think 2 of us will go up to their Academy in the fall for a complete coffee immersion course...what fun!

I'm not familiar with them but

you can only make 2 'doses' or cups at a time.
tells me that you may be referring to their "pods"? I'm always in favor of freshly roasted espresso that is ground by the shot per drink. But I've had so much bad espresso in restaurants that many of them would benefit by switching to pods.

The downside of pods is that the espresso will never ever be as fresh or as good as you can get by traditional methods and the cost per serving from a raw materials standpoint is much higher.

The upside is that you don't need to keep dialing in and readjusting a grinder... waste and cleanup mess is kept to a minimum... and you'll be able to get a high level of consistency from relatively untrained personnel. Those are appealing attributes in a restaurant environment.

Keep in mind that if you're serving milk drinks you still need people trained in proper milk texturing but as I understand it.... you'll have little if any demand for milk based espresso drinks in your market after mid-day.

But pods are in inherent compromise - no way around that. Thomas Keller uses Illy pods at Bouchon Bakery and I've tried the product at his NYC Bouchon outpost. It was better than nearly all the non-pod Illy espresso I've tried elsewhere but was still mediocre in comparison to properly pulled traditional shots in a cafe environment.

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Wait! Don't sigh!

"dose" is the Italian word for portion or serving.

We grind each 'dose'....no pods! I hate pods.

I'm a little, ok a lot stressed, as we just opened last Friday, and I'm losing my ability to communicate in any language.

The coffee is really strong and pure and delicious. I love it. Fabulous aroma. As far as milk goes, yes, you need to know what you are doing. Claudio and Marina ran a coffee bar for 12 years, so they have some experience. I'm a novice and make a mess, but I'm learning. Coffee is a very fine art here, and it is ENDLESSLY debated.

The other good news is that we are not a regular bar, so we don't serve a breakfast shift, so there is very little in the way of cappucino's in the evening...except for tourists!

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I really like Lavazza and Segafreddo. Also, take a look at Torrefazione.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Wait! Don't sigh!

"dose" is the Italian word for portion or serving.

We grind each 'dose'....no pods! I hate pods.

The coffee is really strong and pure and delicious. I love it. Fabulous aroma. As far as milk goes, yes, you need to know what you are doing. Claudio and Marina ran a coffee bar for 12 years, so they have some experience.

I'm relieved (and I suspect Beto is as well!). Just as soon as I can write off a coffee research trip to Italy (which is at some point in 2008) I'll be headed that way and will add your place to my list for food and espresso stops.

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I'm a novice and make a mess, but I'm learning.

Very glad to see that. Listen to your customers, they'll let you know if you're moving in the right direction.

Sorry if I came across a little harshly before. I just hated the thought of serving pods, especially in the home of espresso!

Good luck in your new venture!

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Owen, it would be a pleasure and an honor to have you visit and taste our coffee!!

Beto, you should come along too! If you think Italians are shy about giving their opinion on coffee.... :blink::blink: These guys are passionate bordering on the truly obsessed! :laugh:

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These guys are passionate bordering on the truly obsessed!  :laugh:

Yeah.... Beto is like that... and so am I. Oh wait - you were talking about the Italians!

Well, Beto could be an Italian name. And your new name is Ovidio. There. You're Italian. (like I have any authority on the subject.. :laugh::laugh::laugh: )

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These guys are passionate bordering on the truly obsessed!  :laugh:

Yeah.... Beto is like that... and so am I. Oh wait - you were talking about the Italians!

Well, Beto could be an Italian name. And your new name is Ovidio. There. You're Italian. (like I have any authority on the subject.. :laugh::laugh::laugh: )

I like that - whenever I try and make reservations when we're traveling in Italy, I use Marco - makes it easier. You just have to remember who you are when you get to the restaurant :laugh: !!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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