The economic outlook for small Italian coffee roasters has not been so bleak since the Second World War. Piano Coffee has made a lot of friends in the Italian coffee community over the past twenty years and it’s heart-breaking to hear that many of them will not recover from lockdown, meaning their heritage blends will be lost to us forever.
Historically in Italy, the big name blends such as Lavazza, Illy and Kimbo were drunk in home, whilst the caffe taken on the hoof on the way to or from work, (or after a restaurant meal), tended to be from a small local roaster. Over the past twenty years, the big Italian brands have turned their attention increasingly to foodservice, snapping up high volume and high profile café and restaurant sites with attractive support packages and incentives.
When the pandemic hit, the already hard-hit small roasters suddenly had nowhere to sell their products. The big brands could continue to satisfy in home coffee demand via retail outlets and online shopping. However, with the closure of restaurants and cafes, the small roasters were facing a perfect storm, which would leave many of them facing financial ruin.
Piano Coffee has been working to save two blends of great distinction where, for different reasons, the roaster owners have decided to cease trading. We’ll be posting further on this project over the next few days, including our challenge to replicate these heritage coffees at an eco-friendly small batch UK roastery and our plans for a limited release of the perfected blends.