"When thinking of Caffé D'arte®, I think of family, tradition and artisanship. This view is one of Italians nature that is constant through centuries; Italians are constantly drawn back into thier past. Thus, when thinking philosophically of Caffe D'arte® in the market place, I see Caffé D'arte® as a direct link between the past, present and future."
"Everything about Caffé D'arte, from how we purchase unroasted coffee beans to roasting and blending, exemplifies "traditional" virtues that have a strong claim about coffee through Caffé D'arte®."
» Caffé D'arte® History
The seventies, on the west coast of North America, Seattle.
Our family arrived in beautiful Seattle, which presented such a unfamiliar and different world: a metropolitan city, industrialized and modern yet situated in a lovely landscape. And from here we foresaw an exciting new life, diverse in its traditions as in its culture - our future.
Immediately, we noticed that many everyday habits of our Italian lifestyle had vanished quite suddenly with distance, survived only as memories full of flavors and sweet aromas.
Scents, pleasant odors or rather... aromas: the aroma of history, of culture... of coffee, Our Special Coffee. That unmistakable fragrance which filled (and continues to fill) every room in every home and bar in Italy daily.
Well then, it was the circadian tradition which was the hardest to forget. One could accept the absence of "cornetti" and other delicacies, but never our humble cup of espresso!
Yet what made this simple custom impossible? The lack of coffee... good coffee! The fruition of an ancient culture embodied in the work of a local coffee roaster; that rich espresso blend, was unobtainable. As was the traditional Italian mocha-coffee pot and espresso maker.
Therefore, one had really to start from scratch.
That is why with the utmost speed, we asked the help of relatives in Italy who in no time at all sent the necessary aid; an espresso maker which included a pump for domestic use.
Armed with equipment able to extract the precious aromatic coffee oils, we quickly set off by car, on a quest to find the right blend for our espresso. And in this way we eventually found a tin of ground coffee... half-hidden on a dusty shelf in a small shop which dealt in "international" goods.
After wiping the dust from the well-known brand from overseas, we searched for the roasting date and opened the vacuum-packed tin. For the first time since our arrival to the U.S. we felt "just" a bit closer to the distant aromas of "our" coffee and our skillful espresso blends.
So we then continued to search for "our special coffee". An Argentinean friend told us of an Italian artisan/coffee roaster who lived three hours away by car, up North, in Canada.
We spent the following Sunday in Vancouver B.C. where for the first time in months, we found a place where one could sample freshly roasted coffee; thus we bought our desired blend of espresso beans as well as ground coffee. The following morning we began our "new" life in the States, complete and revived by our much loved "tazzulellaé cafe", Neapolitan for, "little cup of coffee".
Soon after, we began to find a few espresso-makers in some Italian restaurants and in the artistic bars of Seattle.
However, the highly desired "traditional Italian" coffee blend was still missing as the only similarity between the classical espresso and what they offered, was in the speed in which it was made and in its name. Perhaps it was more appropriate to call it, "hot water, strong in taste and as for the rest, bitter".
Sampling these strange tastes and flavors was anything but pleasant and certainly did not help the evolution of espresso coffee in Seattle. Indeed many, including myself, only had the courage to attempt the aforesaid ordeal a couple of times.
Obviously there was some progress, for at least there existed some commercial quality espresso-makers and a few local artisans who roasted fresh coffee. Yet still both the coffee roaster and "barista" lacked the experience in this art form.
The coffee roasters failed in the selection of blends they chose and by burning or under-roasting the coffee. The "barista" fell short in understanding the amount of water used, its necessary temperature, and in the basic working of the coffee grinder and its relative calibration.
The beginning of the eighties saw some Italian espresso blend products arriving from Italy in the form of beans and more experienced coffee roasters began to set up locally. A few companies which manufactured espresso-makers began to take a serious look at exporting their latest products into Seattle. Slowly, new businesses and distributors began to spread the commercialization of espresso.
I returned to Italy, to learn more about the craft of roasting and blending espresso. As an apprentice (in the region of Campania, near Rome), I learned from the coffee roasters how to use their wood roasting equipment and I absorbed their passion for this art.
In 1985, back in Seattle, I began Caffé D'arte® which attempted to introduce real traditional Italian espresso, blended and roasted according to the most rigid artisan traditions.
The methods and processes used in industrialized coffee production were never and will never be considered part of our approach. Instead, our Caff» D'arte∆ blends are hand crafted in every sense; roasted in small wood fired roasters and gas fired roasters, without the help of computers that could never replace human knowledge, experience and passion. As a result, Caffé D'arte® offers a sophisticated taste which is both interesting and complex.
In fact, the Caffé D'arte® blends are recognized all over America and in many parts of the Far East.
The elegance of our "Firenze®", the bouquet of "Parioli∆", the grandiloquence of "Capri®" and the full-bodied "Taormina∆" reproduce a regional quality and handicraft that makes each espresso blend unique.
On the other hand, our "Fabriano∆" and "Velletri∆" coffees are famous for their ligneous taste, due to the perfected art of roasting the coffee with alder wood.
It can be said that Caffé D'arte® has played an important role in spreading the traditions of Italian coffee world wide. Caffé D'arte® began the now popular "Academy of Coffee and Espresso" in America, aiming to spread the art of Italian artisan coffee to thousands of entrepreneurs around the world.
So this is where, for both work and pleasure, our Italian family and Caffé D'arte® are forever cultivating "Our Special Coffee" and our well-loved traditions which will never be forgotten in the rush to embrace new technology and mass production.