CAGLIARI – Specialty Coffee landed on the island: there’s a cafè, in Cagliari, that has become the temple of quality coffee thanks to the effort of its manager, Andrea Pettinari, who made this trend a life philosophy. We had a chat, and he led us into his own world at Caffè dell’Arte Specialty Coffee, in Via Caprera 3.
Pettinari, why and when did you decide to serve specialty in your own cafè? –
“It all started in 2014, when we decided to start this adventure thanks to Jessica Sartiani. I met her in Florence, during a trip. Caffè dell’Arte Specialty Coffee is our family business since 1996, and we decided to switch to specialty coffee after tasting an anaerobic coffee from Costa Rica at Ditta Artigianale. I can still recall the emotions it gave me. I asked Jessica: how can I become a barista like you are? This is where I started educating myself, both in Italy and abroad.”
How many specialty cafès where there, when you started? And how many, now? –
“We started the thing in Sardinia, and still we are the only ones. In mainland Italy, instead, the last years have seen a significant grow in numbers, both in cafès, roasteries and hybrids”.
Pettinari, how much do you earn from specialty? Is it something good for business?
“We only serve specialty coffee, it’s our core business. We also launched our own roastery: of course it’s good for business.The turning point, for us, has been 2019, when we completely removed any commercial coffee from our cafè.
Before 2019 we used to have a commercial coffee on espresso, while all the rest was specialty coffee. We used the commercial one as a tool to slowly bring people into the idea of specialty.
Then we launched our own roastery: it was the end of a long journey and the beginning of a new one. Going from barista to roaster made me understand coffee even better, at a deeper level, having direct relationships with farmers as well. It’s a very complex job, and as a micro roastery we find hard to serve many origins: for now we focus on colombian farmers.
What’s the price for traditional espresso at Caffè dell’Arte Specialty Coffee? What’s the most expensive specialty coffee?
“We serve almost every extraction method, except for Syphon. We also do moka pot and we’re thinking about including ibrik. A single shot espresso costs 1.50, and the most expensive coffee, at the moment, is our “Impressionismo”. We sell a V60 for 6.50. Our coffees have art related names: for 30 years we’ve been promoting art in our cafè. We used to do art exhibitions, but now we put the art pieces on our labels.”
Any future project?
Pettinari: “It would be great to do an origin trip to Colombia. At the moment the trend is to serve many coffees from different part of the world. We want to launch a new idea: instead of going all over the world, we would like to focus on one origin per time, where farmers are doing a great job. We would like people to understand that flavors, in coffee, are a way to convey a message about people and the land they work and live on”
Was it hard to serve coffees for more than one euro?
” Customer’s reaction is good. It has been a hard job: we had to be careful. If you lose a customer, you lose the opportunity to teach something. For this reason we kept a commercial espresso for 1 euro for a while. It has been a way to start. Many customers didn’t want to try the specialty, at the beginning, but little by little they understood it. The difference in price between commercial and specialty made them understand the different value.
Every six months or so, we receive a new specialty coffee, but our main specialty is always the same. We chose not to serve blend, and our house espresso is a washed Castillo from Caldas, Colombia, medium-light roasted.”
What’s your equipment?
Pettinari: “Our espresso machine is a La Goretti Apollo, made by a small artisan in Bologna. Andrea Goretti himself invented this espresso machine, made of steel and wood. It has many features, like temperature control, pre infusion and post infusion”.
How’s Caffè dell’Arte Specialty Coffee built?
“It has two floors. Ground floor is the actual cafè, while the roastery sits on the mezzanine. Friday is our roasting day. We also serve other local businesses, like restaurants. We also try to reduce waste: we deliver our coffee to b2b customers in reusable buckets. We collect the empty ones, sanitize and reuse them for the next delivery.
Our retail follows the same idea. We use recyclable coffee bags.
We start in the morning with both italian and international breakfast, then we do brunch and business lunch. Our cafè is also online, with an online shop”.