"Coffee is my life blood"

Written by Suman Tarafdar | JyotiVerma | Updated: Sep 29 2008, 03:44am hrs
Francesco Viarozzi

Master trainer, Lavazza

Wake up and smell the coffee. The saying could literally come true as Italys leading coffee chain, Lavazza, which acquired Barista last year, is beginning to expand its menu in the hitherto markedly tea-leaning India. While the chain is Indias second largest, changing ownership has seen its fortunes fluctuate. As it readies to take on competitors like the Caf Coffee Day, steps like expanding the menu to introducing the Indians to the fine art of drinking a vast range of coffee-based drinks are on the cards

People want to live an Italian experience, says Francesco Viarozzi, master trainer, Lavazza. And to introduce that, the chain is offering a range of coffees called Piaceri del caffe, or the pleasures of coffee. More continental in flavours, the stress in the new range is on espresso, the favourite among Italians. Espresso has a very pronounced personality, and it is very difficult to combine as coffee tends to tinge other flavours, says Viarozzi. And he sees a potential for more Indians taking to different types of coffee as their beverage of choice, especially as the new range not just offers espressos, but also cappuccinos and a whole of new names for most Indians cappugiro (flavoured coffee where the flavour is at the bottom of the cup, and topped by steamed milk and coffee cream) or marocchino (a shot of espresso layered with warm frothed milk and a flavour of your choice and topped by a sprinkling of cocoa), among others.

Viarozzi has several such exotic blends, most of these after years of R&D. The rigorous work is a minute part of his passion for rich, dark, aromatic bean. Coffee is my life blood, he says. Initiated into the trade from a young age, his family owned a caf, where he went to work and fell in love with coffee. He is no exception, as there is a very intimate relationship between coffee and Italians, says the 36-year-old trainer who has since 2002 been with Lavazzas training centre at Turin.

Founded by Luigi Lavazza in 1895, the company has been at the forefront of introducing concepts like blending and giving a till-then staid product a style image. Lavazza, present in 80 countries, has been sourcing coffee from many leading coffee countries of the world. And India too figures in the list, says Viarozzi. India offers us an opportunity to buy both Arabica and Robusta, he points out, saying a popular buy is the Kaapi Royale, a washed Robusta variety from southern India.

All set for a new expressos, the Italian way.