It’s now more than official: Starbucks Reserve will open in Milan, in piazza Cordusio, in 2018. The wait is fervent. What are the thoughts on this by the Italian coffee-expert community? And the expats? A documentary inquires on the US giant’s arrival in Italy with baristas and roasters. We interviewed the videomakers.
Third Wave Coffee and the arrival of Starbucks in Milan
Third Wave Coffee, we’ve addressed the topic numerous times in the last two years. The popular US and European coffee trend has finally landed in Italy and wishes to develop new trends and innovative techniques. The coffee beverage is raising increasing interest in consumers and service providers, especially after the announcement that the Seattle giant Starbucks is ready to open shop in Milan in 2018 with Starbucks Reserve. The coffee shop will feature coffees extracted with various methods, both filter coffees and espresso, plus a selection of various beans of single origin and blends.
The news quickly raised controverso in the lovers of classic Italian espresso and old-school baristas who are fossilized at an ancient concept of espresso. The arrival of Starbucks is however everything but negative: as explained in detail, there are many reasons why the US coffee chain can help the coffee industry in Italy, starting with the multi-faceted offer which includes a richly varied collection of products as opposed to the sole raw material.
This is precisely what the first Italian documentary (with English subtitles) wants to say. The video, which lasts 40 minutes and is available in streaming for free on Facebook, was published Saturday June June 3rd by Romedia Studio, a duo pf pro photographers and videomakers specialized in coffee. The video is co-produced with Umami Area, company specialized in training baristas and roasters.
“This documentary”, reveal Federico Lucas Pezzetta and Federica Balestrieri of Romedia, “is a first in the Italian and international coffee scene. It’s the first time we have had the chance to interview on tape some of the leading world experts on coffee, hearing them freely speak about topics and criticism which will open to serious and constructive debate”.
The title leaves no room for doubt: Coffees – Italians do it better(?) and the answer – unfortunately – to this dau is no. Italians have long lost the supremacy in this field. It’s now high time to make amends and recoup lost time: “We firmly believe that through deepened knowledge and education consumers can choose in a more knowing fashion which way they prefer to enjoy their beloved coffee”. 40 minutes of experts bouncing ideas and opinions, including the people at Umami Area, with Andrej Godina, Andrea Matarangolo, AndreaCremone, Marco Cremonese, and Francesco Sanapo, mastermind behind Ditta Artigianale in Florence. There are also guest appearances by Andi Benedikter (Cropster), Ivana Beslagic (Probat) and many others. The many voices in the film talk about the growth of coffee in Italy, including its pros and cons; lending opinions on the level of training of the average barista and, mostly, the positive aspects that will come with the opening of the first Starbucks in Italy.
Let’s take a few steps back. The idea of the documentary came almost by chance, from a project that the Romedia duo was working at for Umami: “We were working on crafting a short teaching video for the Umami upgrade training course “Train the Trainers”, intended for the world of coffee. We had various international guest cameos and so we thought, why not create somwthing a little bigger?”, says Federico. The two pitch the idea to Andrej, who embraces the project. This was July 2016, the opening of Starbucks in Italy was in the air but the details were still hazy: “The topic is delicate and dense with discussion in Italy, but equally important for a broader international audience. That’s when we started asking experts for their advice”. This unique project in the coffee scene is part of the industry’s recent brand and marketing upgrade, which also happens thanks to the work of Romedia Studio.
The company is the fruit of the mutual passion for aesthetics and marketing of Federico – degree in Political Sciences and a penchant for amateur photography, “I started working without schooling first”– and Federica, “she is a make-up artist with a degree in philosophy and specialized in advertising and in copywriting. Joining our two skills we decided to throw ourselves in this world”. This adventure has now begun shedding light on the Italian bar scene: “I’ve always been a caffeine addict, but after seeing the coffee episode of TV show Report in 2014 I started askuing myself questions, and understood I had to find out more about the product I consume on a daily basis”. So Federico starts studying, researching, creates an Instagram page – @officialucaschannel – in which he shares thoughts and opinions on Italy’s black gold, and which now has over 6200 followers. His first partnership in the coffee world is precisely with the Umami group, which was followed by a project for Piansa Caffè in the course of the Io Bevo Caffè di Qualità event hosted in Florence, or the one for Triestespresso Expo, the Festival del Cinema with Ditta Artigianale and Caffè Corsini, the festivals at Mercato Centrale in Rome curated by Mondi Caffè and the Italian championships at Sigep 2017, commissioned by SCA. There are also collaborations outside of Italy, like the London Coffee Festival, “for which we will soon issue a more creative project” as well as with various quality craft roasters along with The Barn in Berlin.
by Michela Becchi
translated by Eleonora Baldwin