TCJ001 Overview of Italian Espresso (Plus Our Sisitano Brand Inspiration)

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On October 20, 2017
Last modified:January 9, 2019

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Overview of Italian Espresso

Hello everyone, my name is Payman Lorenzo and welcome to the very first episode of the Coffee Journey Show. I’m your host for the Coffee Journey podcast live from Hangzhou, China, where we are documenting the journey of not only starting a brand new Ecommerce from scratch but most importantly, a brand and a community around coffee. Why coffee, you may ask? Well, myself and our team at Sisitano, we are all avid drinkers of coffee and especially, espressos.

We are going to be documenting the entire journey on this podcast, every step of the way and turn it into the best case study there is on starting and growing a thriving global ecommerce business!

We will be bringing you the most awesome people in the coffee space, whether they be coffee experts, people involved in the coffee business or successful, awesome entrepreneurs who are also just like us, avid fans of coffee and especially, espressos.

So sit back, relax and enjoy your favorite coffee or espresso while I take you on the fascinating ride on the Coffee Journey.

Topics Covered

Please introduce yourself (who you are, where are you from, your background, your business in a nutshell and where you are based at now).
Tell us about Sisi, your hometown and the inspiration for our brand.
Tell us about Italian coffee and the Italian espresso tradition.

What are the different types of Italian coffee and the differences between them?
What makes the espresso special?
What are the benefits of the espresso, the italian way vs the non italian way?

What is the italian traditional way to brew espresso?

How many cups of espressos per day is optimal?
You’re producing Italian coffee and importing them into North America. Where in Italy is your coffee being produced? How long have you been doing that?
What made you go into the coffee business?
Tell us about your very first espresso? Do you remember the moment, the atmosphere, the location, the people who were there with you, the time of the day, the weather, your mood prior to, during and after drinking your espresso. 🙂
Can you share with us any interesting, funny or special espresso moment or story that you experienced while enjoying an espresso?
As an Italian and coffee expert, do you have any tips for all the espresso lovers out there on how to best enjoy their espresso?

Links Mentioned

Podcast Transcription

Welcome to the Coffee Journey podcast. We can sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy your day.

Your expert and passionate coffee drinkers share their takes on what it is to enjoy a coffee, whether it’s driving in your car, walking your dog or at the office. The Sisitano team brings you the experience you need. Enjoy!

Payman Lorenzo: Hello everyone! my name is Payman Lorenzo and welcome to the very first episode of the Coffee Journey Show. I’m your host for the Coffee Journey podcast live from Hangzhou, China, where we are documenting the journey of not only starting a brand new Ecommerce from scratch but most importantly, a brand and a community around coffee. Why coffee, you may ask? Well, myself and our team at Sisitano, we are all avid drinkers of coffee and especially, espressos.

We are going to be documenting the entire journey on this podcast, every step of the way and turn it into the best case study there is on starting and growing a thriving global ecommerce business!

We will be bringing you the most awesome people in the coffee space, whether they be coffee experts, people involved in the coffee business or successful, awesome entrepreneurs who are also just like us, avid fans of coffee and especially, espressos.

So sit back, relax and enjoy your favorite coffee or espresso while I take you on the fascinating ride on the Coffee Journey.

Payman Lorenzo: Hello everyone, this is Payman Lorenzo, your host for this podcast. We’re doing here the first podcast for our journey, the coffee journey on our adventure and journey on starting a brand new Ecommerce brand on coffee. The brand is Sisitano and today, we have a very special guest, my good friend, Antonio and he’s the actual inspiration for the brand Sisitano. He’s gonna talk about that in the show. So let’s welcome Antonio! Welcome Antonio. How are you my friend?

Antonio: I’m good. How are you my friend?

Payman Lorenzo: I’m very good. Thank you for being here. Thank you for asking.

Antonio: No worries, it’s a pleasure for me.

Payman Lorenzo: Always, thank you very much! So Antonio, you’re a special person and the life of this business. I told my good friend and one of our business partner Mike Michelini, also an Italian like you. I told him, we maybe, he’s one of the partners, I said Mike we maybe the founders of this brand but the actual, the grandfather of the brand is my good friend Antonio because he’s the one who inspired me with the name. We’re having a nice conversation a few weeks ago and if you remember I asked you what are the people from Sisi called because you’re from Sisi which is a district in Naples and I didn’t even let you answer and I said Sisitano and you started laughing. I remember that you started laughing like crazy and I love that name and I told the name stuck. So you’re from Sisi, right?

Antonio: I’m from Scafati. Sici is like a creation like a name very close to Scafati. So the name of the citizens of Scafati is Scafatese. That’s my city, Scafati.

Payman Lorenzo: And that’s in Naples or near Naples?

Antonio: That’s very very close to Naples. It’s 15-minutes away driving.

Payman Lorenzo: I see, okay. So if you can briefly introduce yourself (who you are, where are you from, and what are you doing that will be nice. So please introduce yourself for our listeners.

Antonio: My name is Antonio and I’m Italian. I come from the city called Scafati, very close to Pompeii and to Naples as well. So, my birth region is Campania where Naples sits. I’m travelling around Canada, United States, in order to introduce our premium quality products coming from Italy and one of this products is our coffee espresso made in a very traditional Neapolitan way. So that’s what we are trying to do right now introducing premium quality Italian products in North America directly on the place. So that’s my goal and that’s our perspective, our goals.

Payman Lorenzo: That’s awesome! We’re gonna talk about the coffee business at the moment. But first, I want to hear about your take, telling us about Italian coffee and the Italian espresso tradition. Can you share with us more about that, please?

Antonio: Sure, we have a very big tradition in Italian coffee especially espresso. Naples, the city where I come from is very big about espresso. We start our day exactly with an espresso and the smell of our coffee now allows, make us feel at home. The smell in the morning, like when I smell coffee in the morning I say okay I’m home, I’m in Italy. For us, it’s a very big tradition. And the coffee espresso in Naples, generally in Italy, it’s a very short espresso. It’s like one shot espresso, very short, very dark and very intense. So it’s very very strong. The flavor, the taste. It’s not like in other part of the world. And we don’t drink long coffee.

Payman Lorenzo: Okay. And on your espresso the Italian way, do you add sugar or no sugar?

Antonio: Me, personally I don’t add sugar. I think sugar in coffee is for women, not for me.

Payman Lorenzo: Okay. Do you add anything else like milk or anything else to give extra taste to it or no?

Antonio: No, usually you drink coffee straight. A coffee is like a tea. It’s like a tisano, right. It’s needs to be drink in a traditional way. Usually you don’t add sugar in a tea or you don’t add sugar in a tisano. Something like you know from the nature, and coffee is from the nature. You don’t add anything. You drink it straight.

Payman Lorenzo: Yeah! That is if you want to drink it the Italian way, is that? Yeah.

Antonio: The Italian way.

Payman Lorenzo: So I know Italy is very big and Italians are very big coffee drinkers. I’ll be interested to hear the different types of Italian coffee and the difference between them. Can you tell us more about the different various types of coffee in Italy?

Antonio: Sure. My friend it’s not about the difference of Italian coffee. It’s about the different beans in the world. Don’t forget we make coffee in Italy in an Italian traditional way. But business speaking, when we buy beans, so raw coffee we buy it internationally. Usually we buy coffee from Africa. In Africa, they make this quality name Robusta. And we buy coffee from Colombia, Brazil, South America where they make a quality name Arabica. With these two qualities, Arabica and Robusta, you can make your own flavors. So you can mix them, lets say 20% Robusta, 80% Arabica and you make a mix. You make a taste. A flavor. So, you really decide. Usually, Arabica is much more enjoyable than Robusta because it’s more like, lets say in a way it’s more tasty. Robusta, it’s very very tough flavor. Usually, you cannot drink 100% Robusta but you can drink 100% Arabica.

Payman Lorenzo: It’s more stronger. It’s more bitter right?

Antonio: Much more bitter, so you cannot drink 100% Arabica. It’s awful, so you need to mix with Ara–, sorry, the Robusta. You cannot drink 100% Robusta because it’s awful, the taste. So you need to mix Robusta with Arabica for sure.

Payman Lorenzo: So to make a perfect coffee, what percent is Arabica? What percent is Robusta? Do you need to put in–

Antonio: It really depends on your taste. Usually, I drink 100% Arabica. But, if I want a stronger coffee I drink 70% Arabica and 30% Robusta.

Payman Lorenzo: I see, okay. Speaking more — Thank you very much for those technical information. That was very interesting for me, as well as for our listeners. One question I have about this espresso, you may find that funny. What makes espresso so special not only with Italians but about everyone else in the world. What makes espresso special?

Antonio: You know what makes it special, that we drink an espresso, for us it’s a tradition. We drink an espresso for whatever we do. Let’s say, we meet with our family, we have an espresso. After dinner, after lunch we have an espresso. Sunday morning, we sit with our family and we have an espresso. With your dad, with your mom, with your kids or whatever, we have an espresso. When I was growing up, it was very nice waking up on Sunday morning without the inter-school right? And my mom was making an espresso and the smell of this coffee was like everywhere in the house and was waking up everybody. So it’s like, it makes it very special because every I have an espresso it reminds me of home. Reminds me of my family, reminds me of my traditions. My culture.

Payman Lorenzo: Perfect! Are you having an espresso right now?

Antonio: Not right now. Not right now.

Payman Lorenzo: Okay.

Antonio: I had an espresso first in the morning.

Payman Lorenzo: I see. Speaking about espresso, can you tell us about what are the benefits of espresso. Especially the Italian way versus the non-Italian way?

Antonio: You know what’s the most important benefit of an espresso? It’s gonna kick you up, it’s gonna wake you up. It’s gonna make you more foggy. So it’s gonna give you attitude, it’s like a booster, it’s like one-shot straight bomb. You’re gonna feel like Superman after that.

Payman Lorenzo: Yes, and you travelled around the world cause you’re very international person. I’m sure you had coffees on a few countries and a few continents. What difference have you noticed between Italian espresso versus the non-Italian espresso?

Antonio: Not because I’m Italian, but I think that the best quality espresso is not the Italian espresso but the Neapolitan espresso. The difference, the Neapolitan espresso. So the espresso from Naples made in a very traditional Neapolitan way. The difference is basically, in other part of the world, so like let’s say Asia or South America, they make good coffee too. Like North America, or Australia, New Zealand or whatever, difference is their espresso, their coffee is very long. It’s very watery. There’s lot of water inside.

Payman Lorenzo: Okay.

Antonio: So you cannot really taste the coffee.

Payman Lorenzo: Oh, I see.

Antonio: But an espresso made in Naples in a traditional way is very short, very dark, and it’s very strong, very intense. It’s like coffee. So you’re tasting the actual coffee.

Payman Lorenzo: I like the way you said “It’s coffee”. That’s how it’s supposed to be, yeah?

Antonio: That’s the way to say that’s coffee. I mean, there’s no other way for me. It’s for drinking coffee. There is no long coffee or whatever, there is only short coffee Neapolitan one.

Payman Lorenzo: Yeah! Okay, cool!That’s what I like about having you on the show because you’re an Italian guy and I can see your passion, and your tradition especially when you said “That’s coffee, that’s how it’s supposed to be, there’s nothing else to say.” You know, that was perfect! Tell us, what is the traditional way to do espresso, sorry, the Italian traditional way to make the espresso?

Antonio: Okay, so we have, you see like today we have all these machines where you can put a cup inside and it’s gonna give you an espresso. Ad it’s a very good way, actually I have one too at home, at my office too that I use all the time because I’m a big drinker of espresso coffee. So it’s very simple to make, but the traditional way it’s the old style, old-fashioned machine. So you add this grounded coffee, okay in a bag. You put a cup inside this machine with some water inside. You leave the machine like 5-6 minutes on a, like a.. the stove right? And after that you’re gonna start smelling the coffee, you’re gonna smell the coffees coming out from the machine and then you have a beautiful coffee. So that’s the traditional way usually. The traditional machine, no, the espresso machine or lavazza machine or whatever it is. The traditional way is the traditional old style machine.

Payman Lorenzo: I see, okay. And how many cups of espresso per day would you say is optimal to drink?

Antonio: I can’t really tell because I am not a doctor, but me personally, I drink too many. Like ah, so probably it’s not that our feel drinking the same amount of coffee I drink. But I would say for what I hear the best amount probably, it’s actually like a couple of coffee a day. A couple of espresso a day, that’s it.

Payman Lorenzo: So lets say one in the morning, one in the afternoon.

Antonio: Yeah, that’s it.

Payman Lorenzo: And how many espresso do you drink each day on an average?

Antonio: Maybe like 6-7

Payman Lorenzo: Wow!

Antonio: Like I do like 3 in the morning, one after lunch, couple in the afternoon. Yes, 6-7.

Payman Lorenzo: Yeah! Alright, cool. Now. let’s talk about you said you’re producing Italian coffee and importing them into North America. Where in Italy is your coffee being produced?

Antonio: Angri

Payman Lorenzo: Where is that? Can you tell us more?

Antonio: It’s in south of Italy, and it’s very close to Scafati, the city where I was born. So it’s like, let’s say like 15 kilometers from Scafati, so very very close. And yeah, we are producing coffee in a very traditional Neapolitan way in Angri. Thanks to my business partners in Italy, they take care of everything and the owner of the coffee espresso that we are exporting right now, so yeah. Like the city is Angri and we have a very nice team working together, we’re like a family. So it’s very nice working altogether.

Payman Lorenzo: Awesome! And what kind of coffee do you guys produce? Are they more the Arabica type or the Robusta type?

Antonio: We have different kinds of flavors, so we have Classico Napoletano, we have a 100% Arabica, we have ah.. Intenso Suave extra strong, we have even flavored-coffee, so we have like vanilla coffee, chocolate pistachio, caramel. So we have different kind of coffees.

Payman Lorenzo: Wow! So how many types of coffees are there usually?

Antonio: You can really make lot of different kind of coffee, it depends on your recipe. So it depends how you mix the coffee between Robusta and Arabica.

Payman Lorenzo: I see, okay. And how long have you been on the coffee business?

Antonio: Me, personally. it’s been 2 years. But my family it’s been forever. So they started this business when I was a kid. So it’s been like more than 30 years.

Payman Lorenzo: I see. And what makes you go into the coffee business? You, personally?

Antonio: You know, Payman. You know, Lorenzo it’s not about who made me to go like it was very interesting starting this premium quality food-line from Italy because when you go like in Asia, or when you go in North America or when you go wherever, people, they think they’re actually eating Italian food and they’re actually drinking Italian beverage like coffee. But they’re not. Because they don’t have, they’re not educated about Italian products, about Italian food products. Because they don’t know. They’ve never been in Italy. They didn’t see it. So they think Chicken Parmigiana is from Italy, it’s not. They think that the Frittelle sausage from Italy, it’s not. So my challenge at the beginning was I’m from Italy, I can give you, I can suggest you what to buy. I can suggest you what product, which one to buy. So let’s see if I can educate people here in North America how to eat real Italian food not fake Italian food.

Payman Lorenzo: Perfect! Okay.

Antonio: Or food they think that it’s Italian. Food and beverage, they think it’s Italian but it’s not.

Payman Lorenzo: Yeah, I’ve seen that myself especially being here in China. You go to a so-called Italian restaurant. The only thing Italian is just the name and even that sometimes is spelt incorrectly. Because the food is what they think to be the Italian way made for the local people’s taste and local people’s buds. And that’s something wrong. Anytime I talk to Italian friends, I have lot of Italian friends especially some of the chefs here and they always complain about the same thing. Not just about China but about any other country that they go to whether it’s in Asia, and even Africa or in South America, even North America. They always complain. They say “this is not real Italian, this is the dull version of it.” And we are trying to educate them, but it’s not an easy thing to do. I can imagine.

Antonio: It’s a big challenge. Yeah!

Payman Lorenzo: Now look, I’m going to ask you a very fun question. I want to take you back to when you were probably a lot younger. And I want you to tell us about your very first espresso. I want you to tell us if you remember the moment, the atmosphere, the location, the people who were with you, the time of the day, the weather, your mood prior to drinking and after drinking your espresso. Now try to be, go back on a time-machine. Try to be as specific as you can. Lets just have some fun. Let’s have some fun talks. So tell us about your first espresso experience?

Antonio: You know, Payman, like probably the first espresso, I had my first espresso when I was inside my mom’s stomach because my mom would drink an espresso when she was giving birth. I was born with espresso in my ass and my mouth. It’s like asking an Italian when did you have your first pizza, like nobody can answer. You know. Especially, guys from Naples, you know. When did you have your first pizza, he’s gonna say “Listen man, probably like I was like thumping like, you know, 6 months old so. That’s for us, espresso. That’s the meaning for us of espresso and that’s the meaning for us of other things that we make in Naples very special, actually.

Payman Lorenzo: You’re probably, the first beverage that your mother must have given you must have been an espresso, alright?

Antonio: Yeah, exactly. So, I can really. Look, I cannot really answer this question right now.

Payman Lorenzo: You’re answer was actually an awesome one. Very good one especially for an Italian person like you. That’s awesome! Now, can you share with us any interesting, funny, special espresso moment or story that you experienced while enjoying espresso in your life throughout your travels around the world?

Antonio: As I said, for us like espresso it’s a very, it can be a very intimate moment or it can be like a special moment. I say intimate because everybody, when I’m home for example, right I make my own espresso and I make it with love. I don’t just turn on the machine and that’s it. I make it my way, I know the right amount of coffee that I like. I know the right amount of water, the right quantity of water that I like. So it’s like an intimate moment to make your perfect espresso. You know what I mean, it’s something that, yeah. It’s like something that you’re sharing with yourself and nobody else.

Payman Lorenzo: Okay.

Antonio: Then it’s a very, it’s a very social thing to do so I can tell you a lot of funny moments with my friends after like going to a party for a glass of wine and having fun. Guys, lets go for an Espresso Cornetto with Nutella. You know what I mean, so for us espresso is like something that you do on a– it’s something very nice to do altogether, too.

Payman Lorenzo: And a Cornetto, for us who does not speak Italian is like gelato, like ice cream right?

Antonio: No, a cornetto is a croissant.

Payman Lorenzo: Ahh croissant! Ah okay. Okay, even me sometimes I thought it would be a Cornell, like a Cornell like in French. Like a — ice cream. Okay, that’s interesting.

Antonio: No, you see cornetto is a croissant.

Payman Lorenzo: Because I have a good Italian friend, he was a chef and after each meal, he have to have two things – one an espresso and a gelato, an ice cream.

Antonio: No, in Naples usually, after like a Sunday meal or whatever like a big meal usually we have an espresso and after the espresso we have the espresso killer. The espresso killer is the bitter. Disaronno, Averna, or Amaro Lucano or something bitter, you know what I mean, like a liquor.

Payman Lorenzo: Ahh, so why did you call it an espresso killer? I’m curious.

Antonio: Espresso killer because the liquor is gonna kill the espresso. The taste of — yeah. So yeah, the espresso killer.

Payman Lorenzo: Oh, that’s interesting. Okay. So, as an Italian coffee expert do you have any tips for all the espresso lover and all our listeners out there on how they can best enjoy their espresso?

Antonio: The only tip I can tell, like the best way to enjoy your espresso is waking up in the morning and the first thing you have is your espresso because it’s gonna wake you up and it’s very tasty to your mouth, it’s very nice and it’s like it’s something wonderful to do. If you really love espresso, you should go to Italy and try the Italian espresso especially in Campaña region with Naples sits. Because you’re really gonna feel the difference and you can share with us some opinions if you go like, it’s different. You can really feel the difference.

Payman Lorenzo: Ah awesome! Especially if someone can go to Italy, to your coffee plantation. Can people go in there and try coffee at where you produce them?

Antonio: It’s not for public, usually it’s for business people, but for sure for you man, everything no problem.

Payman Lorenzo: Thank you very much! It’s been an awesome pleasure to having you as our first guest of honor. I told mike, if he ask me to look for people to interview and I told him the first person I can think of is you, for all the reasons. You’re the main inspiration behind our brand’s name Sisitano and thank you very much for being here. And before we finish this call, if anyone listening wants to reach out to you or wants to get more tips from you, or wants to buy coffee from you. How can they contact you?

Antonio: They can contact me on my email address which is [email protected], they can send me an email and I can answer their questions, no problem.

Payman Lorenzo: Do you have a facebook or do you have a website they can reach you our or twitter or anything like that?

Antonio: Our coffee website is www.caffekaroma.com.

Payman Lorenzo: Okay, so I will add this to the show notes, so I will get the actual name from you later after the show and I will post it on the show notes. Well, thank you very much for your time, my friend. I appreciate especially now for you, it’s Sunday morning. I’m calling you from China, it’s 11pm here in China and for you is 11 in the morning. So thank you for waking up earlier on a Sunday morning. For taking this call, we really appreciate it and very grateful for you. Thank you very much, my brother.

Antonio: Thank you my brother. Have a great day and good luck. Wish you a good one. Thank you and good luck! Okay?

Payman Lorenzo: You are very welcome! Thank you very much, my friend! Ciao! Bye-bye!

Antonio: Ciao!

Happy reading

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