From a small shop
in the heart of Bologna to markets all over the world. This is how Emilian coffee roasting placed a
bet on high quality coffee and helped obtain the best solution. The “Laboratorio dell’Espresso” (Espresso Lab) was
already set up back in 2001 with classrooms in Bologna, Milan and New York. «Training is essential and is made of proximity, relations and
listening». Giampaolo Colletti interviews Costanza
Filicori and Luigi Zecchini for FARE INSIEME
di Giampaolo Colletti
There are stories that come from far back in time and space. Stories destined to make history. Stories that stem from something as little as a coffee bean which, over the centuries, has travelled the world and many cultures. After all, that bean illustrates the colours and the land of Africa, where it was born. But also the aromas of Arabia, which invented it. A bean whose essence encloses a thousand aromas and takes on a thousand nuances. Moka, black, espresso. Lungo, macchiato, double, ristretto. And, again, Italian, Turkish, American. This is the strength of a bean that becomes coffee, when it arrives in that sack of coarse fabric, welcomed as if it were a king. Filicori Zecchini, a leading roasting company set up in Bologna and now operating in Italy and all over the world, knows this only too well. It boasts a history spanning one century, but just as agile as a start-up. In 1919, in a small workshop in the heart of Bologna, Aldo Filicori and Luigi Zecchini set up a coffee selling business where, inside, there was all their love for good high-quality things, the best raw materials and the secret to a perfect roasting. «Today, over one century later , we put their same care into the search for raw materials and blends, although there have been many innovations related to coffee over the years,» reports Costanza Filicori, General Manager at Filicori Zecchini and the third generation running the business boasting 80 direct and indirect collaborators, 15% on the foreign market and over 30 countries worldwide. There is also a US subsidiary that manages a few clients in New York and Washington. The mission of this leading roasting company has always been to focus on the perfection of Italian espresso. Now, just like one hundred years ago, each variety is roasted separately, thus combining the company’s two souls - artisanal tradition and technological innovation. “We import directly from the best green coffee growers, planning long-term procurements. This enables us to maintain quality and the unique flavour of our coffee stable and constant,” illustrates Luigi Zecchini, President of the Board at Filicori Zecchini.
School of coffee. Growing endlessly With a constant obsession for quality because – as Filicori Zecchini explains– we pay the utmost attention to what ends up in a cup. “We supply a semi-finished product that must be handled correctly in just a few seconds, which implies a complex series of actions. We work hard to guarantee high-quality throughout this process,” stresses Luigi Zecchini. This is why our bet on high-quality also involves the training of those who then make the coffee in bars, restaurants and other venues. So, not just a product but relationships, awareness, knowledge. Therefore, Filicori Zecchini was among the first Italian roasting company to grasp the importance of investment in training and, already twenty years ago, set up the “Laboratorio dell’Espresso”: a professional training programme aimed at all clients. In the laboratory classrooms, now located in Bologna, Milan and New York, the best professional barmen teach basic coffee-making techniques to over one thousand participants every year, so they can experiment and improve. Basic techniques as well as new trends, such as latte art and creative coffee. “We try not to strive from our mission of attaining high-quality when it comes to procurement and roasting, but we consider ourselves a company that does not only supply high-quality coffee used abroad as well, but also a guide for clients in this journey through flavour. Training is essential. We have a school with dedicated staff, classrooms in Italy and abroad that become physical and virtual spaces to build and strengthen a relationship with clients, providing ongoing support. Over time, we realised that services are essential and, therefore, supporting employees and owners working in the H&R sector from the opening and throughout management becomes essential. All this is also a way to safeguard the product,” explains Luigi Zecchini.
Globetrotting coffee. In 2009, Luca Filicori, Aldo Filicori’s grandson, created the first franchise. The idea was simple: to combine the unique style of Italian design with the best creative coffee, offering a top-quality service. It was the start of seventeen important partnerships on a global level from New York to Constanţa in Romania. For the past few years, the company has been importing and distributing over 120 qualities of tea from the best plantations in China, Japan, India and Sri Lanka. The first and second waves of the pandemic represented a critical phase for the H&R sector, as it suffered enormously as the protagonist of the most restrictive measures. Nonetheless, we continued with great determination, as reports Costanza Filicori. “We’ve always remained open and the whole team listened to the sector. We did so focusing on our people, because we believe human capital is essential. Today, we are widening our pool of agents and sellers for an increasingly capillary distribution, without compromising on high-quality products or services. Proximity is fundamental and, despite this complex period, we are optimistic. Optimism is part of our DNA. After all, if we didn't have a positive outlook, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do”.
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