Monday 17 June 2024
  • La Cimbali

Tanya Nanetti, from Italy to Portugal: “Espresso shops are having a real boom in Lisbon”

The barista: "The idea for this year is to consolidate our Coffee Insurrection even more, alongside another project that, again together with Endri, I will develop in the coming months. This new project, this time a consulting one, will be called Third Wave Coffee & Kitchen"

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MILAN – We first met Tanya Nanetti when she told us about the project she shared with
her partner Endri to spread the culture of coffee, Coffee Insurrection. Tanya Nanetti is
one of the women who have been contributing for years and every day to advance the
concept of quality drinks, through training, passion, updating and professionalism. WE had a talk with her about on how the specialty coffee scene is progressing, in the country where she currently lives, Portugal.

Tanya Nanetti, trainer, head barista, coffee writer, from Italy to Portugal: can you tell us how you were formed, what coffee represents for you and, not a trivial question,
how did you get to Lisbon?

“My love for coffee was born while travelling… before that I was never a big fan of Italian
espresso, I didn’t never been a big fan of Italian espresso, I never liked the bitter, burnt
taste, then love at first sight when love at first sight when I tasted my first cup of specialty. I may be trite, but like many others it happened in New York, at Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Together with Endri, my boyfriend, we ordered two V60s without having the
faintest idea what it was, and the rest is really history. Really history.

Back home, again with Endri, I enrolled in the evening hotel school where I got my second
diploma, and then there were various Sca courses, some jobs in Italy that helped to shape
me professionally (among all, I can’t not mention the months I spent at “Aroma” alongside
Alessandro Galtieri and Cristina Caroli) and then Berlin. At a time when I couldn’t find a job in Italy, after about fifty CVs had been sent out with no response, I sent a single CV abroad to The Barn, and I was invited to work in Berlin at The Barn, for a trial… and I was hired!

That was one of the most exciting periods of my life in terms of my professional development: not only did working at The Barn involve training, cupping and lectures, but the whole Berlin scene was really exciting.

Then, Covid interrupted everyone’s dreams a bit, and I came back home.

It was here that a year ago I started, again with Endri’s help, to create the Coffee
Insurrection page: it’s a website that, on the one hand, aims to map as many specialty
coffee shops and roasters around the world as possible, and on the other hand, has our
special little community as its main focus. While I was collecting data on specialty coffees
in Portugal, I found a coffee shop in the Algarve that looked very nice and I wrote to ask if
they were looking for a barista for the summer: the answer was yes, so I moved.
In the meantime, I have visited Lisbon several times (a city I have loved since the first time I visited it more than ten years ago) and met the owners of Buna Specialty Coffee Shop, a very nice specialty coffee, practically the only coffee shop in the whole city to offer light roasted coffee. When they ran out of Head Barista just after the summer, they contacted me. contacted me, and now here I am.”


So Tanya Nanetti, is the specialty coffee in Lisbon in good health? How does it compare to Italy? There are more speciality coffee shops, consumers are more open… how much does espresso cost?

“The specialty arrived in Portugal around 2015, with the opening of a couple of roasters,
and in recent years there has been an increase in the number of espresso shops in
Portugal. In recent years there has been a real boom, especially in Lisbon, which is now full of expats and tourists. There is however a widespread trend in the local specialty towards a
rather dark roast, let’s say medium to dark. This is certainly done to try and attract more
local customers who are used to darker blends, a bit like in Italy.

In my opinion, however, we could be more daring: at Buna we have now set up the brew
bar with a different guest roaster every month, always light roast and always with a choice
of interesting beans (geisha, anaerobic fermentation, etc…) and the clientele seems to be

Of course, most of the customers are expats or tourists, but that’s normal too. After all,
here in Portugal salaries are still lower than in Italy, and an espresso at the bar still costs 65 cents, while a single specialty espresso is around €1.50…”.

What is it like working as a freelance trainer abroad? Do those who attend the courses have a different spirit, is the trainer himself a different professional figure compared to the role he plays in Italy?

Is the barista considered a professional to all intents and purposes there? Or is it also there a “plan b” for many young people? Above all, is it still the case after the arrival of Covid, or is there also the problem of a lack of trained personnel?

“I started working as a trainer here in Portugal as soon as I moved to Lisbon, and last
month I became a coach for Barista Hustle. Most of my “trainees”, at least so far, have
been coffee-loving customers curious to learn more, especially about the brew bar.
Obviously there are also those who are looking to train professionally to start a new
career, but even here the job of barista is often seen as “a B plan”, as something to do that doesn’t require too much effort or study.

And so the situation is a bit complex: there are not many trained staff (if we consider the
Portuguese) mainly because “traditionally” no one has ever been interested in bartenders
being trained; and so when a new specialty coffee shop opens up (almost always owned
by someone who is not a barista), it is a bit of a problem. The owner generally looks for
trained bartenders, who are usually foreigners… Of course there are some very good local
bartenders, but the scene is dominated by expats.

In my own small way, I hope to attract more and more people to the specialty world,
both as a trainer and as a barista… I not only love coffee, but also all the stories behind it,
from the producers to the final consumer… and it is this love that I try to share with my
courses and my hours spent behind the counter.”

How has the on-trade reacted to the pandemic? It’s not over yet, but you can certainly try to add up now: how many survived, why? Has there been any government support for the businesses most affected?

“Portugal has been in crisis for years, long before the pandemic… but if there’s one thing
that has always struck me positively about the Portuguese, it’s their desire to roll up their
sleeves and carry on despite everything without useless complaints. Maybe this is what,
together with a different management of the Covid situation, has meant that many have survived. As far as I know, the government has not been particularly supportive, but
somehow businesses have often managed to stay open, and they still do.”

Tanya Nanetti is certainly an expert in communication in the speciality world: in your opinion, how can we break down the wall of tradition in Italy and reach the consumer? Nowadays there is a lot of talk about price increases and perhaps a little less about quality….

“Italians are a strange people, sometimes willing to spend tens of euros for a bottle of wine
or quality food (and let’s not forget the bottle of water at the bar bought by so many for 1
euro), but not more than €1 for a coffee. The tradition of espresso is certainly a hard one to break, but I am confident that we will succeed.

Perhaps it will be difficult to change the minds of the masses, but if we baristas put a bit of
effort into it, passing on our love, explaining everything that goes into a cup of speciality a
cup, teaching with kindness and without being snooty (avoiding comments like “no, you can’t put sugar in it because you’ll ruin it!”)… well, in that case I’m convinced that we will be able to change consumers’ minds, one by one.”

And now, any plans for 2022? Do you ever think of returning to Italy?

“A quick trip to say hello to family and friends will happen sooner or later, but I don't think it will be to work. work. After all, 2022 is already shaping up to be a busy year: in addition to my job as Head Barista and trainer here in Lisbon, I’m currently working with Barista Magazine and other online magazines, and obviously I’m also working on a new website, and of course I write and take care of the social media of Coffee Insurrection. The idea for this year is to consolidate our Coffee Insurrection even more, alongside another project that, again together with Endri, I will develop in the coming months.

This new project, this time a consulting one, will be called Third Wave Coffee & Kitchen.
Kitchen and will aim to help those who want to open a new coffee shop (or renovate an
existing one).

It will be a project that will try to help with all the problems that arise when dealing with
when dealing with a new reality, and maybe you are not an expert in the field (as happens to many coffee shop owners). from the perfect configuration of the training of employees, help in deciding on a suitable menu (Endri, among other things, is also a chef) to choosing the right marketing strategy…

And then, we’ll travel: ideally it will be a long trip to Central and South America that will
take us that will take us to explore farms and meet producers, and to deepen even more
our love for all that is behind specialty coffee”.


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