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22 June 2020

Specialty People of Piantagioni #1 Filter Coffee Lab

In Pisa, not far from Piazza dei Miracoli there is a small oasis of high-quality coffee born from the project of two determined and passionate girls.
After many years of experience and a long time spent behind the counters of the best London cafés, Eleonora and Valentina have opened Filter Coffee Lab!
Since the very beginning, their idea was to not settle for compromises and bring to Italy a corner of that British culture where the coffee plays a leading role.
At Le Piantagioni del Caffè, we are honoured to be part of the Filter Coffee Lab project.
If you want to fully appreciate it, read our interview with Eleonora and Valentina and if you ever happen to be in Pisa, don’t miss a visit to their coffee shop!

What is the type of coffee your customers order the most? What are your servingsuggestions?

As you well know, when we talk about coffee there is not a one-fits-all solution: to each his own!
And to each coffee the extraction that would enhance it best.
Having said that, we can certainly state that Filter C is among the most requested coffees.
We have been using it for more than four years with a Filter Coffee Machine: our young customers and the many tourists who visit us simply love it.
In order to meet everyone’s taste, we have also widened the offer of the espresso coffees that we serve: we recommend either Cachoeira da Grama, an excellent coffee with a simple aromatic bouquet or Dambi Uddo.
The latter, unusual and complex, is mainly ordered by more educated palates or by those customers who had the opportunity to take a journey with us in the world of coffee and have become coffee lovers.

You have chosen to serve high quality coffee: can your customers spot its value?

We are located in Pisa and, until recently, our daily customers were mainly tourists and students who are usually very open to welcoming new things.
We have led our customers through an experiencing journey, helping them choose and try new coffees and as you know, when you taste something good it is difficult to go back.
You don’t need to be an expert to see the value of a product. Our skill behind the counter is to explain why we liked that coffee so much: in this way, when the customers come back, they will be curious, willing to learn more and ready to pay a little more.
The blackboards on the walls of the shop are regularly updated with all the options and encourage our customers to always try something new.

Have you ever thought about choosing more commercial products and align with the mass-market?

NEVER! When we decided to start our business, we took on responsibilities.
We have a real mission: we want to bring the cult of coffee shops, filter coffee, Specialty Coffees from London to Italy, fighting the popular beliefs stating that the best espresso in the world is Italian.
Today we are happy with the goals we have achieved so far and proud we have never given up on quality. Our success lies in having a wide offer and several price options.

Do you give to food and drink the same importance you give to coffee?

Coffee is undoubtedly our flagship product: after many years we are among the few coffee shops to serve around 15 liters / day of filter coffee.
Coffee has also become the protagonist of all our beverages, we serve Cold Brew Almond, cold brew tonic and many other coffee-based and high-quality drinks.
We wanted to maintain this leitmotiv also for the food, by serving English breakfasts, French toasts, avocado toasts and some typical British cakes, such as cheesecake and carrot cake.
However, the common denominator of all our products remains quality.

You are located in a very touristic city and you have been in contact with many foreign customers. Are their requests for coffee different compared to the Italians’? How much does culture influence the choice of coffee?

We can say that the cultural background is what most influences the choice of coffee, as well as of food & beverage.
Working with foreign customers is easier for us. They already know the products that we sell and they are aware that there are reasons why some products may cost more.
On the other hand, working with people who thinkst that coffee meant only espresso, often burnt and defected, is stimulating: the tasting of a specialty coffee may be difficult at first, but as we said, it is very satisfying.
The quality of our coffee is evident even to inexperienced drinkers.
When they come back to Filter Coffee Lab, they will ask for the same coffee or they will rely on us to go further and maybe try a V60 or another brewing method.
Culture is something that is created over time. Thanks to the commitment of bar owners and to their cooperation with roasters and other professionals, we trust to spread a more authentic coffee culture in Italy.

Your strength, your biggest pride (at work)?

Let’s not mince words, our strength is experience.
We have never improvised: each step of our career has been preceded by training and hard work to gain the right skills.
The biggest pride is to have succeeded here in Italy. It was a big challenge and, even if we know we can still improve, we are proud of our business, of our customers and of all we have created so far.
In conclusion, we wish to underline that unlike many people who see this job as temporary, as a fallback position while waiting for a real job, we have specifically chosen it and we choose it every day.
Passion drives all our actions and we want our employees to share the same passion: it is not just doing the work, but loving what you do and wishing to constantly learn and improve.

How are you coping with the reopening? How did the first few days after the lockdown go?

No need to say it’s hard.
Our employees are on layoffs, university is closed so there are no students, who represent the majority of our customers and the tourists are still very few.
Nonetheless, we like challenges: we face the moment enthusiastically, with twice as much effort.
We are aware we are doing our best and this helps us looking positively ahead!

We are sure you can’t wait to meet Eleonora and Valentina, get lost in their enthusiasm and passion and try all their delicacies.
Great quality and a team of professionals are an absolute guarantee at Filter Coffee Lab!