The espresso is undoubtedly Italians’ favorite coffee, and they drink an average of two cups a day, mostly standing in front of a bar in a matter of few minutes. However, things are changing and in Italy as well as in other countries, coffee roasters – the holders of the aroma secrets – have started to invest in creating different spaces where patrons can enjoy the traditional cup, or browse through filtered and iced coffees accompanied by snacks. Coffee has become a drink to be slowly savored while chatting with friends or working in a context that evolved from the traditional bar to include WiFi, USB charging sockets, and even couches.

The Italian coffee shops chains that nowadays can be found all over the world hold true to the fundamental traits of the Made in Italy with a striking taste for beauty in the choice of furnishings and in the design of cups, such as Illy’s ones signed by international artists. Today there are 167 Illy Cafes and 77 Illy Shops in the world, which every day serve a total of more than 7 million “blacks”. This is how the espresso is called in Trieste where, in 1933, Francesco Illy founded what was to become a coffee empire, which includes the ‘Università del caffè’ (University of Coffee) that offers free training for growers. However, the biggest Italian chain of coffee shops is the Pascucci family’s one that began as roasters in the Marche and now have over 650 franchised coffee shops around the world, as well as an ‘Espresso School’, a vocational training center committed to espresso and coffee recipes.

Caffetteria Goppion, on the other hand, opened in 1949 in Treviso, with the roasting taking place in the back room, and transformed this format into a chain with a total of 23 premises, but all in Italy. The same approach has been chosen by Diemme founded in 1927 and currently run by the third generation of the Dubbini family. After the openings in Padua, Udine, Trieste, and Reggio Emilia, this historic roastery aims abroad and has already a location in Hong Kong.  Diemme also focuses on customization: with a system that allows customers to “create” their own mix, which they can even take home.

The Turin-based Lavazza opened a flagship store a year ago in Milan, and a second one will open in London in 2019, with the aim to eventually have 15 shops around the world to strengthen the brand’s image and spread the culture of coffee.
The Costa brothers, Sergio and Bruno, who emigrated to London in the 70s from Borgotaro (Parma) started with a roastery in the center of the city and later turned it into a cafeteria with a kitchen. Twenty years later they had forty shops throughout the UK. In 1995 the company was taken over by Whitbread, which increased the number of premises to about 3,400 in 31 countries, with the one opened in Dubai in 1999 being the first coffee shop worldwide to start delivering coffee via drones to customers sunbathing on beaches in September 2017.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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