Early this year, almost by accident, I came across an article in an Italian newspaper about a study into the best coffee capsules in Italy, conducted by Altro Consumo, an independent consumer-oriented magazine investigating a wide range of products. Whilst I am not in love with coffee in capsules, I found the research intriguing and decided to look into it.
The study looked at 24 different capsules available in Italy, including many of the big names of coffee roasters in Italy: Lavazza, Illy, Vergnano, Borbone, Kimbo, Gimoka, as well as the ubiquitous non-Italian Nespresso. Surprisingly, the highest-rated capsule came from Cellini, a company I knew very little about. I wanted to know more about these roasters. I found that they are based in Genoa, with the family roots in Tuscany; a few years ago they realised how important capsules were becoming to the modern coffee drinker and therefore invested heavily in the research, testing and production of coffee in capsules. But Cellini is no newcomer to the coffee business. In 1925, Amleto Pieri started to deal as a green coffee broker and, in 1946, immediately after WWII, started his own roastery with the support of his sons.
I was impressed by the story and values of Cellini and wanted to visit them in person. I contacted them and they agreed to a visit. Finally, in September of this year, with all due precautions dictated by the COVID pandemic, my wife and I were able to visit their current production site in Genoa. A fourth-generation descendant of Amleto welcomed us and immediately treated us to a cup of their award-winning Melodico coffee. Usually, I would have been reluctant to go with a coffee capsule, but I was very curious to try this winner and I was not disappointed, I loved it! Even my wife Silvana, who is very demanding when it comes to coffee, was impressed. What followed was a fascinating tour of their facilities, looking at every aspect of their operation, from receiving coffee samples from different plantations, through testing, tasting, chemical analysis, blending, development of the roasting parameters for each different blend, granulation assessment for different capsules, as well as a good discussion about speciality coffees and why they are unlikely to become mainstream in the foreseeable future. We had the opportunity to taste some of their other coffees and take a few samples home with us.
We had a wonderful and educational visit. We were impressed by their facilities, their professionalism, their attention to detail, their love and passion for coffee. We had one thought: we must get this coffee to South Africa, so I contacted my friends at WillowBrew and I am so happy that they agreed to start a working relationship with Cellini. The great news is that some Cellini products will be available in South Africa on the WillowBrew website or from any of its agents this month! (December 2020) As well as the award-winning Melodico Nespresso-compatible capsules, they have a range of other capsules with different blends, as well as a couple of single-origin capsules and one compostable capsule with organic coffee. For those who have opted for the Dolce Gusto machines, there will also be a couple of options. And for the traditional ‘I want to make my own coffee’ brigade, they also have some options of premium ground coffee blends.
As Cellini like to say: LIFE, PASSION!
Article about the study in HoReCa news magazine – English version: CLICK HERE
Cellini website: CLICK HERE
P.S. If you do not have a suitable machine to make espresso, WillowBrew will help you rent or buy one that is appropriate to your needs. CLICK HERE
P.P.S. If you would like to become an agent for WillowBrew, please contact us via our contact form; we are always recruiting in different areas.