The men of Caffè Ernani: Riccardo

riccardo-bartender-ernani-roastery-in-milan

Hello Riccardo! Every time I talk to you I discover new facets, desires and goals. You keep amazing me!

That's why I can't wait to start this interview with you!

Let's talk about your previous professional and training experiences at Caffè Ernani!

Ciao Marti! I started in the sector many years ago, when I started studying at the professional hotel and catering institute. While I was studying I started working in a professional kitchen and there I professionally grew up for 10 years, forming the basis of my entire career.

Over time, however, I began to think more and more about my studies and the idea of enrolling at the University. This idea kept growing inside of me, until it became a real necessity. I was really motivated to specialize and be able to grow professionally as well. 

I get what you mean! Initially you see the university as an obligation and you don't always want to study again for all those years, but then something clicks inside you and you understand that the degree is not like previous studies, it is a true choice, it is a gear that really helps building your future!

Exactly! And I was happy I made this decision, I wouldn't change a thing!

I enrolled in food science and technology and during these years of study a lot of things have happened. During my first experience abroad, thanks to Erasmus, I took part in an experimental project for my master's thesis and above all my interest was triggered by coffee: "what is there hidden behind the cup?".

Here is the mystery revealed! So your love of coffee comes from your studies!

Yes, right! My thesis focused on carrying out lab analysis aimed at measuring the consistency of the beans during the roasting process, using low-intensity ultrasound, with the further aim of finding a new method of analysis that is less destructive than those traditionally used.

Compliments! Did you immediately start working in the world of coffee after university?

No, actually I started working in a multinational in the food sector, catapulted into the research and development sector, first in Barcelone and then in Milan.

I couldn't be happier: I was in charge of the pilot plant, exactly in the sector for which I had studied!

And why did you decide to change jobs?

Because I started doing hands-on jobs and as I said I couldn't be happier but after a short time I found myself behind a computer doing administrative and bureaucratic work. I didn't feel alive and it was becoming almost overwhelming for me that position, so I decided to look for more.

At this point I had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted, I was confident in the future. So why not go back to the world of coffee?

As I said, I wanted to understand where everything starts from and understand what was behind the cup. So I bought a flight to Guatemala and left immediately.

Wow, what courage! I can't wait to have a similar experience!

I advise you to do it! It is a unique experience! In that rural and true place I discovered the daily life of the farmers, their way of life and the simplicity that distinguishes them.

This influenced me as a human and started a process that changed me as a person, that is to eliminate all that is superfluous and superficial. It has become a real life purpose: to get to the essentials.

From here I then analyzed every single phase of the production process that brings the coffee from the farmers to us consumers, in order to attribute a meaning and a value to them.

The latest missing link was the cafè, that is the relationship with the public, how this incredible drink is processed, transformed and served. Obviously together with the transmission to the customer of the value of the cup. And here I am!

It makes me proud when I see that the client pricks up his ears and is also ready to let go of all his beliefs to discover something new.

That's why my favorite role is at the bar as that's where you meet the real people, that's the real "battlefield".

Going a little more personal, do you have other hobbies and passions?

Yes, of course, even if talking about hobbies is a bit simplistic.

I have an unbridled passion for theater, which in the last 10 years I have transformed into a second profession.

For me, theater is my empathic expression, that is the way in which I manage to express myself in front of an audience, through the body.

As soon as possible I absolutely want to come to your show!

We are almost finished, only the “usual questions” are missing: what do you like most about Ernani? And what would you change instead?

These are very simple questions for me and I will answer them directly.

The thing I like most about the Torrefazione is the fact that it is a real point of reference for all Milanese. Furthermore, the customer establishes a bond with the place where he consumes coffee, this place becomes part of his daily routine, and by osmosis we baristas are part of their life. This seems trivial, but for me it is of immense importance.

It is necessary that that ritual is as welcoming as possible and makes the consumer feel at ease, like at home.

On the contrary, I would change the pace, I would like that moment to last a little longer.

Ernani is a cafè where people mostly pass by because this is the Italian habit when it comes to coffee, I would like to find a way to make people stop more and be able to tell as much as possible about our product and the world of coffee.

Thanks Riccardo, hearing certain words moved me and I'm not saying it just to say it.

I am truly honored to be able to collaborate with people like you, who are truly passionate about this world, and from whom you can only learn! 

Martina Mazzoleni 

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