FLUID Specialty Coffee & Sharing: what are we learning every day?
Despite what is commonly believed in Italy, we are not “the coffee country”.
However, Italy is the country where espresso brewing technology was invented: as far as the technical side goes, we’ve got everybody beat. Yet, it’s a different story when we’re talking about the product.
Of course, our more established roasters are among the largest in the world, however they are not the most quality driven. In fact, over the years the Italian market has remained anchored to cheap cups of coffee, which has forced roasters to choose low-quality beans and to hide their defects through darker roasting that tends to burn the bean and flatten the flavour.
The allure of an Italian product abroad has driven the coffee export market, yet coffee lovers all over the world (and home-grown coffee aficionados in Italy too) don’t look to Italy as a country that favours quality and excellence in this industry.
How come Italy is struggling to evolve and continues to rank amongst the lowest out of developed countries?
Here in Italy, the ritual of coffee is quick and careless: for us, coffee is a habit and thus a commodity. We drink our coffee in seconds, between chatting to one person and another, without really focusing on the flavour, and often sweetening it with a sachet of sugar. So, we find it difficult to spend more for this quick moment: we don’t see the benefit or even the point.
This ritual has also meant that there is no real “Italian breakfast” and that quality coffee is not naturally associated with the exquisite pastries that some of our masterful pastry chefs produce. Last but not least, when it comes to brewing methods: a filter coffee is seen as an “Americanism” to be avoided at all costs (despite the many different options and techniques for achieving filter extraction, all of which are unknown to Italians).
This is precisely where the idea for FLUID – Specialty Coffee & Sharing came from.
Our goal was to achieve two main objectives:
- Open up the Italian market to high quality coffees brewed with different methods (by piquing people’s interest and making the time spent with a cup of coffee in hand important once again);
- Export Italian quality and excellence abroad and also apply them to coffee in order to position ourselves as the first market player to do so.
What have we discovered during FLUID’s first months in Florence?
Over the course of these first few months, we’ve met with little resistance in the Florentine market. Our communication strategy that is entirely in English (except for print media), our bright, saturated colours that undoubtedly contrast sharply with the average Florentine landscape, and our less bitter and chocolaty coffees profiles have found resistance from regular consumers of your typical quick bitter coffee.
However, we are finding favour with all the foreigners who live in Florence, as well as tourists, in addition to our main target audience: students. In fact, we’ve decided to focus on the younger generations: the young people of Generation Z (and millennials too) are extremely curious and have a hunger for discovery. There’s also less of an emotional connection to the Italian coffee tradition and with the coffee ritual that developed in post-war Italy.
Through our in-your-face communication strategy, the intriguing products on both our coffee and food menus, and through the friendliness of our team, something revolutionary is happening: our customers step into FLUID, they take a seat, and they spend time with us.
During that time, they express their curiosity, discover new things about coffee (but also about the other artisan products we’ve brought together) and gradually create a cultured community.
That is why we are delighted with the environment that is created every day here at FLUID: a dynamic, youthful and exuberant environment that is already starting to influence even the most traditionalist of coffee drinkers!