24 May 2017
24 May 2017
Espresso coffee is a question of dignity
Yes, we are not talking about a factory but more a laboratory which is alive with rich, perfumed, opulent scents. The owner is an uncompromising straight talking character, he producing the best coffee in the world
This roasting business was founded one hundred years ago and its mission has not changed since. The sole declared objective of the roasting process is to ensure that an authentic Italian espresso is always served.
Gianni Frasi is not only a purist when it comes to coffee, but can be considered an extremist. There are no half measures as far as he is concerned. It is a question of black or white. It is a question of ‘Arabica’, which means that it is coffee, or it is ‘Robusta’, which means that it is not coffee. In the ‘Robusta’ category we can easily put 90%, and perhaps more, of the so-called coffee which is drunk in the world. In effect what we are saying is that the majority of us when we drink a ‘coffee’ are not drinking the genuine thing but a by- product. And if we think that coffee is considered one of the five most This roasting business was founded one hundred years ago and its mission has not changed since. The sole declared objective of the roasting process is to ensure that an authentic Italian espresso is always served. influential elelements in the world, more so than diamonds for example, then it is necessary to go somewhat deeper into the question. Gianni Frasi retains that it is a question of a different DNA and that it is only the Arabica genre that has all the requisites to be considered as genuine coffee. Surely by now you are beginning to ask as to who this Gianni Frasi character really is. Well, if the truth be told and it must be told, the man is an artisan and has a small coffe roasting business in Verona which is called Giamaica. Yes Jamaica, to use the English name, is not only about reggae, Bob Marley and Usain Bolt, but in that island too there are the Blue Mountains, a sacred sort of place in which a pure and genuine 100% Arabica coffee bean is grown. It should also be said at this point that the Giamaica roasting business was founded one hundred years ago and its mission has not changed since. The sole declared objective of the roasting process is to ensure that an authentic Italian espresso is always served. Another important consideration to be aware of is that the roasting takes place at a quite slow rhythm: there is only one machine, it enjoying the real colonial style name of Victoria, a machine which can no longer be found on the market. It works in a direct flame manner treating around fifty kilos of beans every quarter of an hour. The emphasis is very much on sensitivity and cultural appreciation and there is not that annoying needle of productivity level at every stage in the process. And what is more is that operations cease at 7 p.m. Yes, we are not talking about a factory but more a laboratory which is alive with rich, perfumed, opulent scents. Now, to go back in time a little. 18 years ago Michil contacted Gianni to have more detail about his distinctive coffee. They met, exchanged, got on well (something which should not be taken for granted as far as Gianni is concerned). But then strangely enough there were 18 years of ‘limbo’, of other things, of not ‘coming together’. Then one day not so long ago Gianni’s name came up in a hotel meeting of ours and we decided to get back in contact and we troops - Nicolò, Manuel, Michil and myself, thought that we would go and see him. Michl contacted him and Gianni was adamant that he would only entertain we visitors if Michil came along, as he did not want to deal with we intermediaries. And so it came that we organised a real and proper expedition, with Michl at our helm of course. When we got down there to ‘Giamaca’ it was not the one of palms, beach, and attractive females as the folm version of the happy island but we found a much simpler reality. Outside there was just a small gate with an old and not showy ‘Torrefazione Caffè Giamaica’ sign and in small letters ‘sede’, Italian for headquarters. No sign at all of flashing lights or other annoucements of glamour, just modest poetic simplicity. This introduction said a lot about Gianni. We subsequently discovered that you will find no webpage of his, nor a sniff of facebook anywhere. Gianni really belongs to a glorious time gone by, another dimension, another type of culture. As we entered and introduced ourselves the handshake between Gianni and Michil was accompanied by the former’s observation: ‘Dear Michil, so it has taken you eighteen years to understand what a good coffee is all about.’ After this memorable line we were then immersed in a world which had a mix of the metaphysical, the philosophical and the poetic about it as Gianni demonstrated and illustrated in convincing manner what real coffee is all about. And, as you will have imagined, there is a happy ending to this tale for now you will find at the bar of La Perla, in the restaurant Stüa di Michil, at Ladinia and Hotel Posta Marcucci an exquisite coffee. Certainly an extra valid reason to come and visit you, wouldn’t you say?