Andrea Pettinari: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #59

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Andrea Pettinari: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #59

coffee shop
1- Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and what’s your job.
 
Hi there, my name’s Andrea Pettinari from Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia in Italy. I am Head of Coffee at Caffè dell’Arte Specialty Coffee, a specialty cafè and roastery focused on developing the culture of high quality coffee.
 
2- When and why did coffee become important to you?
 
Coffee is what I do everyday. I started working in this business because my parents in-law needed someone to cover a position in the cafe and it was love at first… bean!
 
Being a perfectionist, I soon realized that my job as a barista couldn’t be just extracting espressos and pouring cappuccinos. There had to be more and I was determined in becoming the best version of my barista self.
 
My wife and I both love to travel, and it was during one of our trips that I met Jessica Sartiani who got me to try my first specialty coffee. From that day on, I decided to dedicate my energy in promoting the high quality coffee culture and the importance of the coffee supply chain.
 
 
3- Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than “just a cup of coffee”?
 
Of course I do! It was an anaerobic coffee from Finca El Diamante, Costa Rica, brewed on the Aeropress. Like an apple pie: I could feel dough, apple and cinnamon.
 
4- What’s your favorite thing about going to work in the morning?
 
Knowing I’m not going to do something I hate or I’m not 100% committed to. I see everyday as an opportunity to spread the word about specialty coffee, both to locals and international customers.
 
And hey, when I enter the cafe I have to dial in all of my espressos, so I can drink a lot of coffee!
 
5- What’s your favorite brewing method and why?
 
My personal preference goes to V60. I like the way you can get a clean cup and work on different pouring styles, both with paper and metal filters.
 
But when it comes to my everyday job, espresso is my weapon of choice. The espresso machine is the tool I use to convey the message to the average Italian customer. I serve something that is already well known, but with different beans, and this is how I made many people switch from “regular” espresso to specialty coffee (not only espresso!).
 
6- Which is the best coffee you ever tasted?
 
Well, it’s quite hard to state which one was the best. I’ve had many great coffees, so I think I’m going to follow my heart with the coffee that emotioned me the most.
 
It was experimental lot from Colombia, a lot that Felipe Restrepo processed with a natural experimental fermentation. It touched me so much because it was the first coffee I had the opportunity to discuss how it was processed with the farmer himself.
 
We had a very long video call, when I received the coffee bag and I sampled it… wow, everything went crazy. All of the words Felipe said to me came to life and I was able to feel the agricultural process behind that lot.
 
It was wild, it tasted like wine must, cherries and dark chocolate. I loved it because it was an embodiment of the way I like to work with farmers.

Caffe dell'arte specialty coffee
 
 
7- Is there a country of origin that you tend to favor coffee from? Why?
 
Colombia, hands down. It’s the country where all the farmers I know personally live. It was the country that gave me the chance to become a roaster, the way I wanted to be, and I also think that its quality coffee scene is growing well. There are lots of young farmers there that are doing a great job.
 
8- Suggest us a roastery to check (not the one you working at/you use at work).
 
Well, we serve our own roasted coffees in the cafe but I obviously can’t suggest that! I can’t choose a single roaster, so I’ll give you three roasteries: , Harmony Coffee Roasters, Kickback Coffee.
 
9- What’s the most important things you’ve learnt while working in the business?
 
The importance of hospitality. I see many baristas that focus so much on techniques, science, competitions, being socially recognized by the “community” for having top level equipment… and they often forget what our job is made of: hospitality.
 
You can be the best barista in the whole galaxy but if you don’t commit yourself to hospitality, you won’t go far.
 
We work with people, both on the farmers’ side and on the final customers’ side. If we put ourselves in a position that scares the customer, or even worse, make that customer think we don’t care about him/her… oh dear, it's time for another job.
 
Being a competitor; being a videomaker; being an Instagram personality - those are all different jobs. A barista works in hospitality and he’s the first element of the coffee revolution.
 
10- How your work and the specialty coffee world are coping with Covid and the new challenges for hospitality?
 
As everyone else, we had to adapt to things. During the initial period of the pandemic everything was new and scary, so we decided to take a breath and think about how we could try and turn this event into an opportunity.
 
It was hard to keep people distant enough from each other and sell high volumes of take away coffee (in Italy it's not a thing).
 
Since then, I've noticed customers allowing themselves to stay longer inside cafes, which is usual in Italy where the coffee culture is to drink an espresso at the counter and leave within two minutes.
 
I feel that people now want to dedicate more time to themselves, even inside cafes, and we try to help them spend some quality time by suggesting a V60 or another filter coffee instead of their usual espresso, possibly even paired with pancakes for breakfast.
 
11- How do you see the specialty coffee scene in 10 years?
 
I see it going well, in Italy as well. I hope the future will bring more attention to the farmers and the environment, things that I consider paramount for the real coffee revolution. I’d like to see baristas spend more time telling the story of the coffee they’re serving, using the flavors as a tool to bring more and more people into this world and contributing to a better coffee market.
 
12- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
 
Probably on this same neverending path. I see myself being happy, chasing a dream and giving my absolute best to make a difference.
 
13- Any last word? Any tip or suggestion you wanna share with someone that want to start this path?
 
Be brave, follow your dreams and be generous. This may sound obvious, but pick each one of these three things I mentioned and apply them to a job in specialty coffee - they get a whole new meaning.

Andrea Pettinari


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