Back in spring this year, Soyuz Coffee Roasting crew visited newly opened Ditta Artigianale – microroastery and coffee shop in Florence, and sat down with its founder Francesco Sanapo to have a chat about the concept behind his coffee company. Francesco, three-time Italian Barista Champion, told us about the dreams and fears he had, risks he faced, how he tried to preserve the Italian artisanal traditions while introducing innovation, and also about his future plans in a country where "espresso" is a religion of its own. _Read More...
A dream that I turned into reality
Ditta Artigianale microroastery and coffee bar was born out of my will to fulfill a dream: recounting coffee in a different way. In our country coffee had a great past, but was much in need of innovation. A dream that I turned into reality. I wanted to recount coffee from a different point of view, giving more value to the countries of origin and their producers and, and at the same time, to show to the Italian public different profiles of taste.
We always use new crops for our coffee
In Ditta Artigianale we have our blend, which is Jump: it's made of three different origins, the first one is Fazenda Pantano (Brazil) that is located at an altitude of 1400 meters in the Cerreido Mineiro area. It's a botanical variety called Yellow Bourbon which has a natural process. With it, there's also a colombian coffee coming from the Tolima area: it's fully washed and of Caturra botanical variety. The last one is an ethiopian coffee cultivated in the Yirgacheffe region, in a micro area called Gedeo located at 2000 meters of altitude, by a small cooperative called Kolisha (ethiopian botanical variety, ethiopian heirloom mix, washed process). This is our blend for espresso which differs every season because we always use new crops for our coffee, chosen during my trips to the countries of origin. For what concerns filter coffee, we have different options, and among those I'd like to mention the Kenya Kiangoi AA, a coffee with an extraordinary fragrance and with marvelous notes of blueberry, honey and citrus peel. We also have other selections of great prestige and among these I can mention the honduran coffees bought this year by Ditta Artigianale which are the result of the direct trade relationship with the producers, including Arturo Pinto of Finca Nuevo Amanacer and Don Pedro Romero of Finca Los Popitos.
We are different
To be honest, the concept of roasting at Ditta Artigianale is different. Even though it's respectful toward the italian artisanal tradition, which involves innovation, research and development, I feel different because of the diversity of the coffee that I serve. We have an approach which is more international than others, and that's because of my many travels aboard and of the feedback that I get: we receive many requests from foreign countries for the coffees at Ditta Artigianale. I feel that it's necessary to open our mind and to look around us, the request for different methods and tastes is numerous. For example, regarding the filter, we apply a lighter roasting while for the espresso we try not to go over a medium level. Some italian roasters choose to roast their coffees dark, while we prefer a medium roasting. For us, roasting is the exact mixture of different areas of knowledge, including physics and science and it's not a matter that we resolve only with the human eye, and that's why we supplied ourselves with ultra-modern technologies to always reach a high and unvarying quality standards. In the end, we don't believe that the roasting artisan way should be a lonely man locked in his shop like it was 50 years ago, but we do believe that technology can help to improve the characteristics of a coffee cup.
We searched for the best partners on the market
We searched for the best partners on the market, those who could actually bring an added value to the offer of my brand. For example, for the water supply, we mounted a reverse osmosis implant in collaboration with Water & More, while for the roasting machine we developed and built, in collaboration with Brambati Spa, a highly technological machine. For what concerns the brew bar, we availed ourselves of the advice of Hario, a japanese company, while the espresso machine is produced by the florentine company La Marzocco.
I can count on my very professional staff
Due to daily communication work that we conduct have people understand why our coffee is different, we always have to be at least two people behind the counter, precisely to be more effective with our message. Honestly, my work behind the counter in the last years has been severely reduced because of my many commitments and travelling which takes me around the world. But, luckily, I can count on my very professional staff.
Some of them grew up with me and love coffee just as much as I do. Among them, I can be proud of some of the best baristas in Italy, like Lucian Trapanese, Francesco Masciullo and Jessica Sartiani.
€1,50 for espresso! In Italy!
We had a lot of fear before opening our caffetteria because we decided to sell our espresso at 1 euro and 50 cents, absolutely the highest price for an espresso in Italy. This fear vanished immediatly after the first day of opening, when we witnessed the fact that our customers, who obviously have been closely guided by us during the tasting, reacted favourably to our espresso. I'd like to underline the fact that we decreased the consumption of sugar by 50% in only 5 months of opening!
I keep saying that espresso in Italy had a great history, but I'm firmly convinced that there's a new era which is not supposed to lessen what has been done, but to continue the succesful tradition of coffee in this country. I can't hide the fact that there have been years of paralisys, but I can clearly see now a new and fresh enthusiasm among professionals and consumers.
My future is to dig deeper in the world of coffee
My future is to keep growing and to dig deeper in the world of coffee, something which will affect my life in general because you never stop growing and learning. I will definitely keep on promoting the specialty coffee culture in my country by opening new cafeterias and collaborating with new baristas. Moreover, a year ago I started the Barista & Farmer project, a coffee talent show which has the goal to educate professionals about the real life on a plantation and on what's behind a cup of coffee. But we don't only look at professionals: thanks to the cameras, the goal is to also reach the consumers and have them understand how beautiful, wide and vast the world of coffee is.