The History of Coffee is steeped in legends

President: Giuseppe LAVAZZA - Luigi LAVAZZA S.p.A. Secretary: Francesca De Feo

Coffee is a drink obtained from the roasted and ground beans of a few species of the genus Coffea that belong to the family Rubiaceae, which consists of over 66 species of tropical plants. Two of these are universally known, cultivated and commercialised: Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora, commonly known as Robusta coffee. Many basic ingredients are needed to make a good cup of coffee, but the first is of course the quality of the chosen blend. Arabica and Robusta – in different percentages – determine the character and flavour. Blending is the art of creating a harmonious product, the process of combining different types of coffee to create pleasing flavours and strength, while maintaining consistent quality.

  • In a cup of coffee
  • Decaffeination
  • Roasting
  • Blending
  • Grinding
  • A bit of history
  • Coffe by numbers
  • Find out more
  • Members
  • What's in a cup of coffee?

    A cup of coffee mostly consists of water, has a negligible number of calories and – if not decaffeinated – contains a molecule that contributes to its characteristic bitter note, but which above all is responsible for its stimulating effects: caffeine. Other components include polysaccharides (soluble fibre), acids (chlorogenic, quinic and citric), minerals (potassium and magnesium) and small amounts of lipids, proteins and trigonelline. Furthermore, it contains – albeit in small amounts – the very important volatile aromatic compounds, while the rest is made up of the so-called “unidentified constituents” (bitter compounds, melanoidins). It should be noted that the composition of the drink varies according to the blend, the degree of roasting and the production process.


    The first coffee decaffeination process was invented in the early twentieth century by the German coffee merchant Ludwig Roselius, who then patented it. To produce decaffeinated coffee, the caffeine is removed from the green coffee beans, after which they undergo similar processes to those used for regular coffee. There are three different methods for decaffeinating coffee (see the website, all of which ensure highly selective extraction and do not affect the other substances that contribute to the quality of the coffee. All three methods guarantee the removal of 99.9% of the caffeine (the maximum level of caffeine allowed for decaffeinated coffee in the European Union is 0.1%). The decaffeinated coffee is then dried.


    Coffee roasting is a process by which heat is applied to the coffee beans. A vital factor is creating the correct temperatures and being able to control them at the right time, then stopping the process when the aroma has fully developed and the coffee beans have a uniform colour. During the roasting process the green coffee beans gradually turn darker until they are brown, and they also become very crumbly. The aromatic character of a coffee is largely a result of the roasting process, and is determined by hundreds of chemical compounds belonging to various different classes.


    Blending is a process that optimises the aroma, body, structure and flavour of the coffee, while delivering a consistent flavour profile. Most espresso blends are based on high-quality Brazilian Arabica coffee. This can be blended with African coffee beans to impart a winy or fruity component, or high-altitude Central American coffee to balance the acidity. Robusta coffee is used to add body and produce more crema in espresso coffees. Blending requires specialised expertise, in-depth knowledge of each coffee that is to be blended, and understanding of the flavour profile of the coffee being produced. There is a wide choice of ready-made blends on the market, in order to satisfy all consumer preferences and tastes.


    Once the coffee has been roasted and blended, it is ready to be ground. The main objective of grinding is to increase how much of the coffee is actually in contact with the water in order to facilitate extraction, that is, the transfer of soluble and emulsifiable substances into the coffee. Depending on the extraction method, the grind can be fine, medium or coarse. The size of the particles in fact affects the extraction speed and, consequently, the final organoleptic characteristics of the beverage in the cup. The blends for espresso coffee must be ground very finely, thereby allowing the water to capture the maximum amount of aroma in just a few seconds. A medium grind is the most suitable for making coffee in a moka pot, while an Americano coffee requires a coarser grind that is able to retain the water for the amount of time necessary for the infusion.

    Coffee by numbers

    The 2022 turnover of the Italian coffee industry is equal to 4.5 million euros. The volume of green coffee processed by companies in our country amounts to about 12 million bags.
    In Italy, the annual per capita consumption of coffee is 5.3 kg

    A bit of history

    The history of coffee is steeped in numerous legends. Its stimulating effect on the human body was discovered by chance, just like the therapeutic virtues of tea, but over a thousand years later. According to legend, it all began in the 9th century, in Abyssinia, today's Ethiopia. A pastor living in Kaffa province was surprised that his goats could not sleep at night. Not knowing what to do, he turned to the religious of a nearby monastery, who unveiled the arcane: goats liked to eat the cherry-like fruits of a strange plant – the coffee shrub. Driven by scientific curiosity, the monks prepared an infusion with these berries and after drinking the drink they felt pervaded with energy. Even today the Ethiopic plateau is considered the cradle of coffee. From there the coffee berries reached Arabia over the Red Sea. Coffee cultivation began in Yemen in the mid-15th century. From the cities of Mecca and Medina, a destination for many pilgrims, coffee quickly spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula. The port town of Mokka remained the center of the world coffee trade until 1720. For this reason, until the 18th century in cafes all over Europe, "mokka" was drunk, a tremendously expensive drink that only nobles could afford. With the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century coffee spread to Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and southeastern Europe. The entire Islamic world was conquered by the "sober intoxication" of the black drink, whose name today derives from the Arabic word "qahwah" meaning "wine", while the Turks called it "kahweh". Since Muslims were not allowed to consume alcohol, coffee became the "wine of Islam". Italy has been the gateway to coffee in the Western World. Venice was the first port where the first coffee matches in Europe arrived in 1570; it was still Venice that inaugurated in the seventeenth century the era of coffee shops, which then spread over the following centuries to the main European cities. In the Italian sense, the term "coffee" is not only about identifying the product, but also the place where it is consumed: the first "cafes" were elite places, where intellectuals of the time met and where politics, art and gossip were discussed. The story of what is now unanimously known as Italian coffee, begins with the invention and then the spread of espresso machines. The honor of the first patent of a machine that can be identified as a real device for making espresso must be recognized to the Turiner Angelo Moriondo, who on the occasion of the General Exposition of 1884 designed and made some examples of coffee machine for the premises he managed.


    BIALETTI INDUSTRIE S.P.A. - Via Fogliano - 25030 Coccaglio (BS) -  

    BO.MO.CAF. S.P.A. - Via Meucci 2 - 20082 Binasco (MI) -  

    CAFFÈ BONOMI S.P.A. - Via DELLE Scienze 6 - 20082 Binasco (MI) -  

    CAFFÈ BORBONE S.R.L. - Zona ASI Loc. Pascarola snc - 80023 CAIVANO NA -  

    CAFFÈ CAGLIARI S.P.A. - Via Emilia Est 1129 - 41123 Modena (MO) -  

    CAFFÈ CARTAPANI S.P.A. - Via del Canneto 26 - 25010 Borgosatollo (BS) -  

    CAFFÈ MOLINARI S.P.A. - Via Francia 20 - 41122 Modena (MO) -  

    CAFFÈ MORGANTI S.R.L. - Via Tor Di Cervara 236 - 00155 Roma (RM) -  

    CAFFÈ NINFOLE S.P.A. - S.S. 7 Appia - Contrada Baronia (Z.I.) - 74027 San Giorgio Ionico (TA) -  

    CAFFÈ TROMBETTA S.P.A. - Via dei Castelli Romani 132 - 00071 Pomezia (RM) -  

    CASA DEL CAFFÈ VERGNANO S.P.A. - S.S. Torino Asti km 20 - 10026 Santena (TO) -  

    COFFEE HOUSE AGENCY S.R.L. - Via Di Brera 2/9 - 16121 Genova (GE) - 

    COIND SOCIETÀ COOPERATIVA R.L. - Via Saliceto 22/H - 40013 Castel Maggiore (BO) - 

    CORSINO CORSINI S.R.L. - Via del Sembolino 62/64 - Fraz. Badia al Pino - 52040 Civitella in Val di Chiana (AR) -  

    COVIM S.P.A. - Via Gelasio Adamoli 241/E - 16138 Genova (GE) -  

    DEMUS S.P.A. - Via Caboto 31 - 34147 Trieste (TS) -  

    DIEMME INDUSTRIA CAFFE' TORREFATTI S.p.A . - Via Battaglia 69 - 35020 Albignasego (PD) - 

    DOLCI NANNINI SIENA S.R.L. - Strada delle Frigge 5 - 53035 Monteriggioni (SI) -  

    ECOM ITALIA S.R.L. - VIA Roma 2/35 - 16121 Genova (GE) - 

    ED & F MAN LIQUID PRODUCTS ITALIA (VOLCAFÈ ITALIA) S.R.L. - Via Giorgio Byron 14/4 - 16145 Genova (GE) -  

    EKAF INDUSTRIA NAZIONALE DEL CAFFÈ S.P.A. - Lungotorrente Secca 3R - 16031 Genoa (GE) -  

    EL MUNDO S.P.A. - Via Luigi Guzzetti 135 - 21050 Marnate (VA) -  

    ELIO ROMAGNOLI ROMCAFFÈ S.R.L. - VIA FIORETTI 1 - 62100 Macerata (MC) -  

    ESSSE CAFFÈ S.P.A. - Via Carpanelli 18/A - 40011 Anzola dell'Emilia (BO) -  

    GABESCO ITALIA S.R.L. - Via Griziotti 4 - 20145 Milano (MI) - 

    GI.MA S.R.L. - Via di Tor Chiesaccia, 20 - 00134 Roma -  

    GOPPION CAFFÈ S.P.A. - Via Terraglio 48 - 31022 Preganziol (TV) -  

    GREEN ELITE COFFEE S.R.L. - Piazza del Monastero 2/1 - 16149 Genova (GE) - 

    GRUPPO GIMOKA S.R.L. - Via Marconi 20 - 20090 Trezzano S/N (MI) - 

    GUGLIELMO S.P.A. - Via Nazionale S.S. 106 snc - 88069 Copanello di Staletti (CZ) -  

    HARDY S.R.L. - Via Idiomi 1/39 - 20090 Assago (MI) -  

    IL POLO DEL CAFFÈ S.P.A. - Via Boscofangone Interporto Campano Lotto D 201 204 - 80035 Nola (NA) -

    ILLYCAFFÈ S.P.A. - Via Flavia 110 - 34147 Trieste (TS) -  

    INTERKOM S.P.A. - Via Bernini - 80129 Napoli (NA) -  

    ITALCAFFÈ S.P.A. - Via Galileo Galilei 18 - Frazione Ceparana - 19020 Bolano (SP) -  

    JACOBS DOUWE EGBERTS IT S.R.L. - Via Nizzoli 3 - 20147 Milano (MI) - 

    JULIUS MEINL ITALIA S.P.A. - Via Macello 26/B - 39100 Bolzano (BZ) - 

    KIMBO S.P.A. - Via Appia km 22+648 - 80017 Melito di Napoli (NA) -  

    LOGAMED S.R.L. - Viale della Tecnologia - 97015 Modica (RG) -  

    LUIGI LAVAZZA S.P.A. - Via Bologna 32 - 10152 Torino (TO) -  

    MOKITO S.P.A. - Viale Ortles 17 - 20139 Milano (MI) -  

    MONTANO CAFFÈ S.R.L. - Via stadio 24 - 88050 Cerva (CZ) -  

    MUSETTI S.R.L. - VIA MARCORA 2/4 - 29010 Pontenure (PC) -  

    NESPRESSO ITALIANA S.P.A. SOCIETA' BENEFIT - Via del Mulino 6 - 20090 Assago (MI) -

    NESTLÈ ITALIANA S.P.A. - Via del Mulino 6 - 20090 Assago (MI) - 

    NKG BERO ITALIA S.P.A. - Piazza San Matteo 15/6 - 16123 Genova (GE) - 

    OMKAFÈ S.R.L. - Via Aldo Moro 7 - 38062 Arco (TN) -  

    OLAM ITALIA S.R.L. - Via Rosellini 2 - 20124 Milano (MI) -  

    PACORINI SILOCAF S.R.L. - Via Caboto 19/2 - 34147 Trieste (TS) -  


    PROCAFFÈ S.P.A. - Via Tiziano Vecellio 73 - 32100 BELLUNO (BL) -  

    QUARTA CAFFÈ S.P.A. - SS 16 km 950 800 Zona Industriale - 73100 Lecce (LE) -  

    RESI BRAS S.R.L. - Via Carlo di Tocco 7 - 80142 Napoli (NA) -  

    ROMANI & C S.P.A. - Strada per Tortona 19/A - 15068 Pozzolo Formigiaro (AL) -  

    S. PASSALACQUA S.P.A. - Via Taverna Rossa 131/133 - 80020 Casavatore (NA) -  

    SAQUELLA 1856 S.R.L. - Strada Vicinale Torretta 24 - 65128 Pescara (PE) - 

    SEGAFREDO ZANETTI S.P.A. - Via Puccini 1 - 40067 Sesto di Rastignano (BO) -  

    SELECTA IMEX S.R.L. - Via Canneto il Lungo 31/8 - 16123 Genova (GE) - 

    SPECIALCOFFEE S.R.L. - Via degli Artigiani 4 - 23010 Rogolo (SO) -  

    SPINEL CAFFÈ S.R.L. - Via Prov.le Tuglie Parabita Km 1,3 - 73052 Parabita (LE) - 

    TORREFAZIONE PORTIOLI S.P.A. - Strada per Merlino 7 - 26839 Zelo Buon Persico (LO) -  

    VERWERKAF S.P.A. - VIA DON MINZONI 50 - 43015 Noceto (PR) -  

    VOLLERS ITALIA S.R.L.Unip. - Bagnoli della Rosandra 344 - 34018 Dolina (TS) - 

    ZICAFFÈ S.P.A. - Contrada San Silvestro 139/1 - 91025 Marsala (TP) -