Innovation and respect for tradition dictated by the head of the Export department for Caffè Vergnano, one of Italy’s oldest coffee-roasting companies
Born in Turin, under 40, with a degree in economics from the Università Bocconi in Milan, a coffee-drinker since the age of two, Carolina Vergnano joined the company in 2005 and is currently the head of the Export Department at “Caffè Vergnano”, one of Italy’s oldest coffee-roasting companies. «I have worked in the family business for over ten years, guided by my father Franco and my uncle Carlo. With my brother Enrico and my cousin Pietro, we represent the fourth generation. What we have been doing over the years is illustrate the ritual of espresso coffee to highlight every detail, with a focus on the raw material».
Her work is the company has been and is an opportunity to make the brand even more competitive in the face of the demands and transformation of the contemporary market, at home and abroad. If drinking a good cup of coffee remains an essential and consolidated ritual in Italy and elsewhere, today it makes it possible – and strategic – to develop a series of activities that offer new ideas and meanings linked to a beverage that is such a significant part of our everyday lives. Carolina understood this from the start. Thus, consistent with memory and tradition linked to the history of this company, based in the Piemonte region, Carolina is also responsible, among other things, for market relations with foreign countries and the development of the “Caffè Vergnano 1882” project, the network of coffee shops – as of today over 150 in 20 countries – which aims to promote the culture of Italian coffee and the brand itself around the world. Thanks to the “Caffè Vergnano” Design Department, these shops now exist from France to Belgium, from the United Kingdom to Germany to Saudi Arabia, from Oman to Kuwait and from Armenia to Morocco, and in Russia, Japan and the United States. A forward-looking operation, conceived to be sustainable.
Eco-compatibility is a key word for these coffee shops, which use ecological materials and recyclable products
Even the compostable capsules “Espresso1882” are part of this vision, conceived to be made out of compostable biodegradable polymers so that they may be thrown directly into the organic waste bins.
«I believe that the best way to conduct a business today is to never feel like you have made it, explains Carolina. Every day is an opportunity to experiment and begin new challenges. Since 1882 we have been bringing innovation into a world of tradition, a perfect combination for continuing to grow and anticipating the market».
At the end of 2018, the Accademia Vergnano opened in Chieri on the hills outside Turin, in the historic nineteenth-century villa where Domenico Vergnano founded his company. Restored and redesigned by the team of architects at “Caffè Vergnano”, today it is the site of an educational centre dedicated to the art of coffee.
In opening the Accademia, we wished to create a project coherent with our company identity
«We chose a site that is deeply rooted in our own family history and our tradition, says Carolina, preferring an authentic atmosphere, while relying on the finest technologies for the practical side». The Accademia offers different types of courses, from the most elementary to the most sophisticated, held by trainers certified by the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association). It is also a house, a place conceived to represent a deep bond with our origins, and tell the story of our family. It is available for private events but also open to the public during the encounters we dedicate to coffee lovers and connoisseurs.
The most recent news from the company? “Women in Coffee”: «Our dream for the year 2019: a real commitment to support projects by women working in the coffee plantations», says Carolina. The first objective is to raise funds to support the opening of a micro-coffee roasting company managed by a community of 20 women in the County of Hondo Valle in the Dominican Republic.
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translation by Olga Barmine