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Coffee in Turin

Turin: The City of Coffee

Torino, the elegant, historic capital of Northern Italy, is truly the city for coffee lovers. For one, it is the capital of internationally beloved Lavazza, it even has a museum dedicated to their coffee history. Then there are the beautiful historic cafes of Turin which have welcomed coffee lovers since the 18th century. And, Turin is, after all, the birthplace of espresso.

 

Torino, the elegant, historic capital of Northern Italy, is truly the city for coffee lovers. For one, it is the capital of internationally beloved Lavazza, it even has a museum dedicated to their coffee history. Then there are the beautiful historic cafes of Turin which have welcomed coffee lovers since the 18th century. And, Turin is, after all, the birthplace of espresso.

“Turin is, after all, the birthplace of espresso”

In 1884, Angelo Morando of Torino designed the first espresso machine in order to serve clients faster at the busiest times of the day. His original design used vapor (like the Moka) which made up to 10 coffees in 2 minutes. Morando’s design was then adapted by Achille Gaggia (of the still active Gaggia) in 1938, applying high water pressure for faster production. While it impacts speed, the ratio of pressure and vapor combined even today is crucial with the modern espresso machine, allows for the full aromas of the coffee to come through.

World-famous Lavazza, Caffe Vergnano, and Caffe Costadoro were all founded in Torino in the 1880s and 1890s. Today these are still the most popular coffee brands, but Turin does offer a number of specialty coffee roasters, practicing sustainable roasting and using Slow Food Presidia beans. San Domenico is one coffee roaster to look out for, they choose only the best beans from around the world, and slow roast over a birchwood fire.

“It was here at these cafes, dotted along the grand piazzas, intellectuals, writers and Italian politicians often met.”

Whatever your coffee of choice, you will eventually find yourself sipping an espresso in one of Torino’s iconic cafes.  Many of these cafes were established when the city was home to the King of Sardegna and Sicily. It was here at these cafes, dotted along the grand piazzas, intellectuals, writers and Italian politicians often met.  Today you can still visit many of these cafes. Here are a few not to be missed on your next trip:

 Cafe al Bicerin-1763

A particularly unique cafe for the time, Cafe al Bicerin created a welcoming space for women, one of the few social spaces they could gather to meet and pass time. It was originally a small store that sold primarily soft drinks, it found its claim to fame towards with the discovery of the Bicerin drink. The name Bicerin refers to the small glass cup it is served in. Starting with a base of melted gianduja chocolate, covered by a shot of espresso and then topped with foamed milk.

 

Stratta 1838

Once the official candy maker to the royal family, today Stratta continues to amaze with their sweets, gorgeous ambience and one-of-a-kind service and of course, their coffee.  Stratta serves San Domenico Roastery, changing out the origin every week, so there is always something new to try.

 

Baratti & Milano 1858

The chocolate heart of Piazza Castello, still to this day they have the best hot chocolate in the city. Their coffee is a unique mix made for them; it has remained essentially the same through history.

 

Fiorio 1780

Step back to the 1700’s for lunch, surrounded by red velvet in back rooms reserved for Turin’s nobles. Or grab a gelato to go: a special recipe made with part condensed milk, part fresh milk. Fiorio serves Lavazza coffee, but offers a beautiful setting to enjoy it in.

 

Mulassano 1907

Mulassano began as a café much earlier, but it moved to be located right in the heart of Turin, in Piazza Castello in 1907. Here they have remained, entertaining theater goers, intellectuals, nobles and officials with their own unique coffee blend. Though they won’t reveal the blend, it has proven to be enjoyed even by those who don’t normally enjoy short shot of espresso.

CONTRIBUTOR

Evelyn Hill Author

Evelyn Hill moved to Italy from small town Vermont in 2012. During her time in Italy she has studied art, archaeology and wine. She currently lives in Turin, helping visitors discover the best of Italy and learn more about Italian wine. 

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