NEW OPENING: Caffe Vergnano 1882 at Dubai Mall

The Italian-born coffee brand recently made its UAE debut in Dubai

Camille Aoun.
Camille Aoun.
Carlo Vergnano.
Carlo Vergnano.
Damian Burgess.
Damian Burgess.

Caffé Vergnano 1882 comes to Dubai intent on demonstrating that authentic Italian coffee is much more than just a name on a tin

Italian-born coffee brand Caffé Vergnano 1882 has made its mark in the UAE, opening its first coffee outlet at the Dubai Mall.

Following the success of its Qatar branch, operating company the Al Jassim Group made the decision to launch the world-known café in the UAE, and the brand’s chairman Carlo Vergnano was in town for the opening ceremony on November 21.

Since its inception in 1882 in Chieri, Italy with a small café set within a small convenience store owned by Dominico Vergnano, the brand has gone from strength to strength. His son Enrico then took over, purchasing a coffee plantation in Kenya which he passed on to sons Carlo and Franco. The brothers at that point worked on developing the brand, moving first to a 15,000sq/m factory in Santana in 1974 which was the beginning of their plan to market it on a global platform.

Being Clear
“For us it was very much about transparency,” Carlo Vergnano told Caterer Middle East in an exclusive interview. “The factory was made of glass – now you see coffee companies are secretive about their businesses – for us transparency was key. As you drive past today you can see everything.”

The company continued to grow with a second plant being built across the road. The HQ comprises 120 workers and 24 production lines with an annual predicted turnover this year totalling $92,000.

Authenticity is key says Vergnano, and while the company’s focus has somewhat shifted to serving the modern market with coffee capsules as well as the traditional 250g-1kilo forms of coffee and mainstream market distribution, he says there is no better taste than the truest form of coffee, which is primarily the reason everything in the new Caffé Vergnano 1882 was imported direct from Italy.

The Real Thing
“The cost of investment was high,” asserts Camille Aoun, director business development Al Jassim Group. “Everything from the lights to the parquet to the sofa, bar and machinery has been made-to-order, to specification and to the exact dimensions,” he says.

While in part the reason for this was to make the brand “match the profile” of the Dubai Mall, a bigger reason was the education for the city on what true Italian coffee is. Damian Burgess, master trainer adds that to those who know their coffees, sticking an Italian label on the tin is just not good enough.

“Even though coffee has a long history, Italians are the ones that started with the word espresso over 110 years ago. When it came to Europe, it came through the ports of Italy and all the ideas and cultures came from Italy where they import in and specialise in roasting and creating blends.

The Italians have a wonderful, wonderful idea of taste. They’re the ones who realised coffee from Ethiopia, combined with some from Brazil and sweeteners from St. Flamingo work well together and that’s more than an Italian label. It’s experience.”

A Taste of Italy

The Dubai branch leans on its Qatari sister outlet, borrowing its baristas who know and understand the brand and its values. While competition in the coffee market in the UAE is very strong, it is hoped that Caffé Vergnano 1882 helps to boost the profile of ‘quality coffee’ a bit further.

“It’s a big thing to put an Italian name on it and say you’re an Italian coffee shop but there is more involved than that,” says Aoun. We really are focused on the coffee. It’s all about making sure people understand the flavours.

Our customer is anybody who appreciates high quality coffee products. They’re not going for coloured water – they are going for the real thing.”

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