Giuseppe is the deputy to Carlos (our production manager) helping to ensure that everything is as it should be, from the roasting processes, to packaging, storing, and operating machinery. What really makes him tick though, is people. He takes great pride in making all our assistants feel involved and believes that taking the time to have coffee together is a crucial part of the day.
When did you first become interested in coffee?
I think my interest in coffee settled in my mind when I was a child. As soon as I woke up in the morning, I could smell the aroma of coffee in my home. I suppose that, since then, I have associated the idea of coffee with something positive and so every morning has to start with a cup of coffee, or every meal has to be finished off with a good cup of coffee.
Tell us about the Roastery?
For the same reason I like to decorate my own home or the reason I like to cook dinner for the people I love. Having the Roastery is about us; it’s about taking care of what we are and doing things the way we want to do them. It’s ours.
We think people and passion come first, business second. We believe that as a consequence of having this mentality, we will deliver to our customers the best cup of coffee we can.
When I thought about the answer to this question, I thought about how Carlos and I have coffee together first thing in the morning, every morning. That is not just two colleagues having coffee before work, but two friends sharing our own feelings about what we do and what we eventually want to refine. Our blend is unique because it is a mixture of different ingredients, which are blended and roasted according to our beliefs and our experience, and not just on what books say or other companies do.
What does coffee mean to you?
If I think about coffee, I see myself having a nice chat with an old friend of mine, or welcoming into my house somebody that’s come to see me or having breakfast with my family. Coffee is a companion. Coffee is memories of the moments I share with the people I love.
What most fascinates you about coffee?
When I drink a cup of coffee, what is amazing is that the aroma and flavour – flowers, fruit, herbs, and nuts that you find in many different countries around the world – are still beautiful and uncontaminated.
How do you drink your coffee?
I drink espresso mainly. In my culture we always drink espresso so I’m used to drinking that. It is the one I feel says the most about coffee in all its flavours and peculiarities, so that’s why I like it.
What is your first coffee memory?
I couldn’t tell you my first memory – coffee is a lifestyle in Italy – but I do remember a moment with my mother when I was 10-years old. I was just so desperate to have one. Everyone else around the table was! I wanted my own. And so my mother mixed me a little coffee with water and four spoons of sugar. That was my first cup of coffee. I’ve always had a sweet tooth but now I just take one sugar in my espresso. There are two beliefs in the coffee industry – you shouldn’t add sugar to your espresso so you can taste everything, and the other is that you need to add sugar to kill the bitterness, which covers up some flavours of the coffee. So once you kill the bitterness you can taste everything else in the cup. To be honest, you should drink it as you like it.
What is your fondest coffee memory?
One of my uncles had lived in Venezuela from when he was very young. After many years he came to visit my family. He landed in Rome. I lived in the South of Italy, so I drove all the way to pick him up from the airport. I lived in a city called Taranto, which is by the seaside. There used to be a very nice coffee shop there on the coast. I remember him saying “Before we go home shall we stop here?” After all those years, we had a coffee together. The weather was just beautiful, the smell of the sea was so nice, and we had this coffee there. This was a man coming back to his home country after many years and so there was not much talking, it was more of a feeling. It was a wonderful memory.
How did you get into the coffee industry?
It wasn’t planned. I’m actually an environmental engineer. I was looking for a job in that context and, in the meantime, I was looking to support myself and thought “What can I do?” I could make coffee, so I took a job as a barista with Caffè Nero and when I saw this position at the Roastery, I thought to myself “This is more of a technical job – this is more for me.”
I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to work in a factory though. I’m not a factory person! When I came here however, I thought it was such a wonderful place. It’s not a factory at all. I spoke to Gaetano and he was so happy, with a big smile. There is so much here, it’s not just pressing buttons and putting the roaster on. You need to have a lot of knowledge about mechanical things. You need to deal with people, people from different countries and cultures. You love coffee, but you still need to train yourself. Just because you love football doesn’t mean you’re a professional footballer, you need to train. So I came here and thought to myself “This is what I really want to do.” I couldn’t see myself sitting down at a desk making calculations all my life. I discovered that coffee was more me.