Recreating an Italian experience

An espresso bar and deli chain at the heart of the community brings Italian authenticity to the UK – starting with its blend of coffee

Antonio Motisi, an Italian born and raised in Britain, is bringing the secrets of Italian coffee culture to the UK.

“Few Britons understand coffee the way the Italians do,” says Motisi, co-founder of the growing chain of Caffé Fratelli espresso bars and delis.

“A traditional Italian coffee drinker only drinks café latte or cappuccino at breakfast. The milk, which is a heavy protein, sets them up for the day. But later in the day they drink only espresso because it stimulates digestion,” explains Motisi.

The Italians also match coffee to their meals, just as wine is matched to food. “At lunch they typically pair espresso with a stuffed panino (the Italian sandwich) or a pasta, and at dinner with a low-carb meal.

We serve only our own blend of espresso, based on a traditional Italian blend

“No Italian would dream of drinking a cappuccino at the end of an evening meal, as some Britons do. It would be like having a bowl of cereal in the evening.”

Caffé Fratelli’s mission to bring Italian authenticity to UK coffee drinkers starts with its blend of coffee.

“We serve only our own blend of espresso, based on a traditional Italian blend which includes Robusta beans sourced from a farmers’ co-operative in El Salvador,” says Motisi.

The beans are shipped to the company’s roasters near Genoa, then roasted and blended to produce a coffee with a smooth, nutty flavour. Including Robusta in the blend ensures the caffeine kick and produces a rich, thick brown crema – the brown surface foam considered the sign of the best espresso.

Motisi and business partner Toni Moscolo – the man behind hair salons Toni & Guy – are also committed to serving authentic Italian food.

“Our lasagne is made in northern Italy and brought here by refrigerated transport. Many of the ingredients for the food that we prepare in-house every day are sourced from Italy and Sicily,” says Moscolo.

Customers who love the food can buy genuine Mediterranean ingredients from the café’s deli shelves and continue the Caffé Fratelli experience at home.

“Unlike many coffee shop chains, we have not adapted our beliefs about food and coffee to the UK. We are recreating a genuine Italian experience,” says Motisi.

As 80,000 people visit a Caffé Fratelli espresso bar and deli each month – with plans to add to its current 12 – it is already a genuine Italian experience that many UK coffee lovers enjoy.

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