Saturday 04 February 2023

Slow Coffee at Expo

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From August 4 to October 22, the Slow Food Theater will be celebrating an illustrious guest with a series of events that will take us from Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest to the Huehuetenango highlands of Guatemala and from an unusual historic collection to an innovative high-tech project.

Who is it? Coffee, of course! Our guide to this fascinating world will be Roberto Messineo, a long-time friend of Slow Food and coffee ambassador for Expo, an artisan coffee roaster who has spent years searching out the best coffees around the world.

It was his idea to come up with a special calendar of events to explore good, clean and fair coffee along with Italian and international guests in an atmosphere both stimulating and relaxing. The aim is to recreate the feel of sipping a cup at home with friends, perhaps prepared in a legendary Neapolitan coffee pot. Something we will in fact be doing!

Let’s take a closer look at the exciting calendar of events. First up are two historic Slow Food Presidia, on August 4 and 26.

Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest Wild Coffee, one of the country’s best, is grown in the mountains of Bale National Park, in the Oromia region, 350 kilometers south of the capital Addis Abeba.

A world away from a classic coffee plantation, here the arabica plants grow wild in the forest. The producers make their way through the undergrowth, picking the coffee cherries by hand and collecting them in woven baskets tied to their sides.

The coffee is not washed (washing and fermentation are crucial phases for Latin-American coffee Presidia) but immediately laid out to dry. Technically this is known as “natural coffee.” There are currently around a hundred Ethiopian producers, united in two cooperatives, and since 2012 the Harenna Forest coffee has been packaged with Slow Food branding.

Later in the month we’ll hear about Huehuetenango Highland Coffee, a Presidium established in 2002 which involves around 170 small-scale producers who grow and process coffee according to a production protocol that guarantees the sensory, environmental and social quality of the end product.

The events will talk about the coffees’ sensory characteristics and where they come from, as well as the network of roasters and experts created in Italy to help local producers improve their coffee and fully realize its potential.

We’ll also be looking at historic objects and innovative designs. Few people know that Italy is home to an unusual collection, which its creator Enrico Maltoni dreamed of creating since he was a boy.

This dream has now become a reality, and his is in effect the world’s most important collection of coffee machines. And the innovation? You’ll find it in an Ape Piaggio, designed by three university start-ups and fitted out with advanced coffee-extraction technology, yet to be found in the world’s cafés.

You’ll be amazed how a simple three-wheeled Ape has been transformed into Coffee@Square, a project able to unite advanced technological services, social benefit and innovative design.

And that’s not all… On Ethiopia’s National Day we will be celebrating the country’s extraordinary biodiversity, with coffee as one of its highest expressions. In October we’ll be looking at innovative drinks in international coffee houses, and then we’ll finish up with one of the biggest names in Italian coffee, marking 120 years of Lavazza. The company’s new Etigua blend, exclusively for the restaurant sector, uses Harenna and Huehuetenango Presidia coffee.

by Silvia Ceriani

Visit the Slow Food-Piazza of Biodiversity area at the Milan Expo, from May 1 to October 31.
The space is on the Decumano, at the east end of the exhibition site – Pavilion H12. You can save time by taking the “People Move” shuttle at stop F1, to the rear of Pavilion Zero, and alighting at stop F7.

This way you’ll be with us in five minutes, avoiding lines among the pavilions. Plus, by taking the Decumano from east to west you’ll see the whole Expo without having to walk a lot. We look forward to seeing you!

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