November 15, 2017 2 min read
Our Master Roaster, Enrico, had the opportunity to go on a coffee tour of Italy in October 2017, including a visit to the Rocket Espresso Milano headquarters. He picked his travel dates well, because he was in Milan at the same time as Host Milano, THE biggest hotel and restaurant event in the world! Here are a few memories and discoveries from this eventful time.
What is it exactly? Host Milano is the world's leading exhibition for catering and accommodation equipment, food, and coffee. It represents 175 countries, hundreds of thousands of visitors, nearly 2,000 exhibitors; and yes, a whole pavilion dedicated to coffee! You can go crazy and feel like it lasts for weeks, even though the whole party only lasts a few days.
In addition to being a dream shopping trip for professionals, Host Milano is an opportunity for the industry to look at current and future trends in food service and hospitality. Workshops, training, and micro-events all take place during this large annual gathering.
Every possible supplier of accessories, equipment, machines, and mills is there, from the big brands to some of the smaller independent ones that are beginning to take their place in the industry. Then, of course, there are the bigger players in European roasters (from Italy, Switzerland, and France), like Illy, Lavazza, Segafredo Zanetti, etc.
"There was so much to see that I was confused when I arrived at first. I didn't even know where to start!", and yet, he wound end up returning home with a pile of information as tall as himself (6 feet and a few inches!) and dozens of products.
But patience is required. For larger kiosks, it can take up to an hour to speak with a representative! "Just to say hello to a friend of mine at Rocket, I had to circle back three times."
"I saw roasting machines that I'd never seen before that can probably roast 500 or 600 kilos of coffee at a time". By comparison, Barista roasts 30 kilos at a time. These extreme capacity machines are huge: some are two stories high!
But you have to keep both feet on the ground, "we learned about several beautiful companies that make mills", Enrico tells me with a sparkle in his eye, "better quality products, hand-assembled by artisans; you have the care of a human that’s behind every bean."
Accompanied by two friends, Enrico also got to know manufacturers of beautiful coffee accessories, be it coffee grounds drawers, tampers, and much much more. The biggest advantage to these small manufacturers was: "instead of going through large distributors who increase prices, we're going to get what we want directly from the source, in a wider variety".
This short stay in Milan allowed Enrico to take stock of the coffee industry, but also to leave with a head buzzing with ideas!
February 16, 2024 3 min readRead More