Specialty People of Piantagioni #6: Cristalli di Zucchero
In this difficult period visiting customers is complicated, but we are happy to keep in touch with them.
Yesterday we had a nice chat with Daniele Salari, owner of the Cristalli di Zucchero pastry shop in Rome.
Daniele has been running this coffee/pastry shop for two years and he has made it a point of reference for all the Romans who are looking for quality espressos and desserts.
- Hello Daniele, would you like to briefly tell us about your business path?
The “new” Cristalli di Zucchero was born only a couple of years ago. I have inherited all the positive characteristics of the previous management, but my goal has always been to improve them and to pursue quality at any cost.
And since I had fallen in love with your products, I decided to offer my customers a wider variety of coffees, picking them from your varied assortment.
So, I started buying new coffees and thanks to your help, I began to improve all the different aspects of this job, such as the espresso extraction, but also the maintenance and care of the equipment.
The offer of cakes has evolved likewise, making us proud to be considered a must and a point of reference, as many of our customer say.
- Pastry is the core of your offer; how do you choose the coffees to match?
We are aware that our pastry counter is mesmerising and this is exactly the reason why our staff must know how to support the customers’ choice so as to keep them always focussed also on the excellent coffee menu, which is just as important.
The care of the customer has always been a complex part of our job. However, experience has taught us the best way to approach both the
new and the habitual customers and explain them the value and the quality of our products.
When we have to give advice on the perfect coffee/pastry match, we first try to understand the tastes of the customer and then we guide them, keeping in mind the different flavours of the products and trying to balance them.
- Which coffee do your customers prefer and why?
In Rome, and in general in central and southern Italy, the average customer is used to drinking espressos with hints of bitter and chocolate: this is why the most popular product is your 85/15 blend.
The presence of Robusta in this blend, albeit small (15%), gives the espresso a good body and a thick cream that lead the customers towards the world of quality coffees, without straying too far from their habits.
At the same time, they can take a stab at spotting complex aromas and
recognising acidity as a characteristic of the espresso.
We are glad to say that after a few months spent informing the customers and explaining the characteristics of the coffee, now many people
come at Cristalli di Zucchero to order your Alto Palomar, a 100% Arabica, single estate coffee with great flavours.
- Why have you decided to serve only espresso coffee?
When we opened Cristalli di Zucchero, we would have liked to also propose brewing methods other than espresso, but we have soon realised that our clientele was not yet ready.
So, our choice was to focus on espresso, with the aim of making the most of it. I am very pragmatic and direct.
I prefer to take one step at a time and to gain my customers’ trust, so that in the future, I can suggest them some alternative choices. I trust that we will soon be able to happily broaden our “coffee list”, and to include some different brewing methods.
- Now that our lives are at a standstill, what solutions have you found to keep your customers happy?
I think we have been lucky; we’re holding out! We have never been obliged to shut down and people have kept enjoying their coffee ritual, considering it as one of the few allowances among the many restrictions.
The little time needed to drink an espresso has also helped us.
To face this situation, we have started a take-away and a delivery service which are doing great.
The several positive feedbacks cannot hide the need of the human touch though, and people are searching comfort in the simple daily actions.
We are glad of the affection that our customers show us and that they feel comfortable here, despite the hard times.
- Last quick question. Coffee break, I come to Cristalli di Zucchero and ask you the best coffee+pastry match: what would you suggest?
My favourite match, of course: Alto Palomar and zabaglione cream puff!