One American’s quest to teach Italy — the motherland of espresso — how to do it better

Aug 01, 2018 148

BY: Michaele Weissman

Like inked art on a barista’s forearm, high-end cafes are showing up everywhere. On both coasts and in the middle, over the past two decades Americans have embraced better brew, turning what was once a tiny niche into a mighty market. Nearly half the coffee consumed in the United States today comes from specialty beans ranked well above the commodity grade that once was standard. Don’t believe me? Just take a tour of cafes near your office. Or walk down the aisle of your supermarket and check out what’s for sale. In Northern Europe, Japan, Australia, the same story: Specialty coffee rules.

But in Italy? In the land that introduced generations to the transcendent possibilities of a perfectly executed espresso or cappuccino, specialty coffee is not a thing. Who needs change when you already have perfection? Now an American entrepreneur — an American! — is trying to (politely) persuade Italians that their beloved cafe espresso needs an upgrade. Sounds preposterous? Not when you realize the American is Kent Bakke, the recently retired CEO and majority stockholder of La Marzocco International, the Italian company that helped spread the gospel of specialty coffee by selling gleaming handmade espresso machines around the world.

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SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com

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