Marco is our quality assurance technician and not a bad bean gets past him. He’s fastidious and carefully checks every single batch of green coffee that we source, working closely with origins, as well as our baristas in store. He used to own a café outside of Venice, so he’s a dab hand whether he’s behind the scenes or at the counter.
Marco, tell us about your role at Caffè Nero
Well, like you said, I’m the guy that checks all of the coffee in and out of the Roastery and makes sure it’s really good.
It starts with samples of green beans and ensuring they are exactly the quality we expect, all the way through to the stores.
I like the fact that we take a step forward every day. We work at 100% but, if we can do it at 110%, that’s even better. I’ve introduced new tampers and grinders to the stores, and worked really closely with the baristas there, and I like to always be aware of the bigger picture, which is why it’s so important that we have our own Roastery…
…with the Roastery, it means that we’re always wholly accountable, we’re always in connection from origin to the stores, and we have straightforward relationships. Simple, honest, relationships. That’s really important to me.
What does coffee mean to you?
It’s my job…
Yes, but what fascinates you about it, for example?
Oh, well, there’s always something new, you know? Something interesting, or surprising. And I’ve always been fascinated by the process, from the growth of the plant, to the Roastery. It can take 9-months to get from the ground to here. Behind the scenes, it’s such tough work, but well worth it for the result.
What’s your first memory of coffee?
I was 17 and I worked in a restaurant in Venice. My boss shouted over to me “Can you make two espressos?” and I replied “No”. I had to learn quickly and I found I really enjoyed working in hospitality; all the people you meet from all over the world, coming to enjoy coffee.
After that, I really got into it and opened my own bar in 2005. It’s still there now.
How do you drink your coffee?
Usually espresso. For a kick when I’m down on energy. It’s a natural release.