Antica Torrefazione Caffè Girani (VE)
Caffé Girani, the oldest artisanal coffee roaster in Venice, was founded in 1928 by Giuseppe Girani, legendary coach of the Venice football team, after being introduced by friends from Trieste, his wife’s hometown, to the art of coffee, at that time an extremely flourishing business.
Caffè Girani soon became a reference point in Venice for the highest quality coffee, present in all the luxury hotels and cafes of the time, from Hotel Bauer to the Bar Americano in Saint Mark Square, just to name a few examples. In 1951, following the premature death of Giuseppe, the business was taken over by his daughter Gigliola who, empowered by the values of courage and positivity learned from her father (a Second World War hero who was granted with two medals of honor) has managed to maintain the highest quality of her coffee despite the overwhelming oppression of modern mass market.
In order to guarantee its unbeatable aroma, Caffè Girani is still manually prepared with obstinate precision. The grains come mainly from selected plantations located in uncontaminated and volcanic soils in Central America.
The coffee is then roasted by hand at a relatively low temperature with a rare Vittoria machine (the Ferrari of the roasters), manually adapting this process to each coffee variety in order to maximise the floral and fruity aromas whilst limiting acidity (on the other hand toasting at higher temperatures limits acidity but exalts the bitterness of the coffee).
Each of the resulting blends is truly unique. The most famous one is called Fassina – also known as Super Sweet, being made with 9 varieties of the most prestigious Arabica grains – and it is named after Albano Fassina, the historic owner of a cafè in Calle Frezzeria in Venice who commissioned Giuseppe Girani a blend. Only after many months and tens of trials, Fassina approved the blend that fully satisfied him: this coffee was such a hit among the clientele that the secret “recipe” (and its nickname!) hasn’t changed since then.
Besides many other blends, Girani creates also tailor-made ones such as those exclusively conceived for some of best restaurants in Veneto.
There are two simpler tricks to evaluate, in addition to the taste test, the quality of coffee: 1. after roasting, a lighter line must remain in the characteristic central cut of the bean due to the residue of the peel 2. once ground the coffee, the color of the powder must appear of a nice homogeneous color “monk’s frock” (as in the last two photos on the bottom right, the Caffè Girani is the one on the left of course).