Published by Tanya in Coffee Insurrection Hero · 6 August 2021
Tags: DarioFociani, FaroCaffeSpecialty, Roma, Interview
Tags: DarioFociani, FaroCaffeSpecialty, Roma, Interview
1- Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and whats your job.
My name is Dario Fociani, I am 35 years old and I was born in Rome. I do work in "Faro - Caffè Specialty" as owner, co-founder, marketing and social planner and as barista but in september I will switch full time to our new brand "Aliena - Coffee Roasters" as owner and roasting manager. Of course I will still work in Faro sometimes, but from september 2021 I will focus on the new project. One of my business partner will keep staying in the cafe and anyway, we did a good training to the guys who work there, so nothing will change as quality.
2- When and why did coffee become important to you?
My first experience with coffee was in Melbourne, where I found out that coffee wasn't the beverage that everyone thought to be in Italy. I had already experience in hospitality as waiter and when I saw how great could have been to work with coffee I did all my best to train myself and get hired. In Australia I wasn't really good enough to work full time, so it was just a start, then I moved to London and there it started my real wonderful barista experience. It became very important because I saw a community worldwide of people moved by the same passions and I loved the atmosphere of café and the work at the machine. It just was very natural for me to keep doing it.
3- Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than just a cup of coffee?
My first experience with something that was more than a cup of coffee was in Melbourne, in 2010. A Barista saw me interested and I think because I was italian and usually italian people didn't like it, seeing me keen, he really enjoyed giving me many information on what I was drinking, it was a coffee from Costa Rica, but I don't remember the name of the farm. In the street I was, at "Carlisle Street" in Balaclava, there were many cafes, and that kind of attention for breakfast made me in love. I have to admit I got amused probably from the mood, the ambient and the feeling about the cafes and coffee shop and then from coffee itself.
4- What’s your favorite thing about going to work in the morning?
I have to admit it, I am not a morning person, I started to work in coffee in Australia, then I went to London and eventually I moved to Berlin and I always tried to get shift starting from 10am or 11am. Over there coffee is all day matter, so it wasn't a big problem. Before I was a waiter and a barman, I used to stop working at 2am and my body get used to that routine, I usually go to sleep very late at night, and before 9 am I am not really myself, I barely speak. Now that I am a little bit older, I am finally enjoying to wake up earlier and go to bed before midnight, it is a new feeling. Not that bad. But I honestly prefer to do my things not too early :)
5-Whats your favorite brewing method and why?
My favourite brewing method depends a bit from day to day. Sometimes I really need a double espresso, sometimes a v60. I am quite used to those two tho'. Those are the only methods I drink. V60 when I need something tasty, complex with long finish. Espresso when I need a big shake and I want something more sharper that gives me a kick for the day.
6-Which is the best coffee you ever tasted?
I drank so many coffees, it is very hard to choose, but if I have to, I will choose two coffees that gives me great memories: a 2015 washed ethiopian Nano Challa roasted by The Barn, basically an apricot juice and a 2017 natural ethiopian Nensebo roasted by Rubens Gardelli. I will never forget those two. Never.
7- Is there a country of origin that you tend to favor coffee from? Why?
So I believe that Ethiopia, Kenya and Panama are the countries that gave me more good feelings so far... But I really concentrate on the farm and I believe everyone working good, with a great agricolture job and with good climate and terroir conditions, can do an amazing coffee. So I don't focus too much on the country, maybe with the time, I still have lots to learn, I will focus more on the areas and the local zones. I have been a barista for all this time and I have been concentrate on the modus operandi and on the extraction more than anything else. Hopefully with the new project, roasting, I will learn more about coffees and their origins.
8- Suggest us a roastery to check (not the one you working at/you use at work).
There are so many good roasters out there, that it is not easy to choose. I like a lot Three marks, Gardelli Specialty Coffees, His Majesty the Coffee, Friedhats Coffee, April Coffee, Five Elephant, The Barn, Casino Mocca and La Cabra Coffee. But who doesn't?
9- What’s the most important things you’ve learnt while working in the business?
The most important thing I have learned is to aim customers able to understand your product. At the start I wanted to convince everyone that Specialty was better than commodity coffee, but I learned that not everyone is ready to switch, not everyone is interested to switch, not everyone has the mental ability to switch, and not just in coffee. So you need to reach people that already are supposed and prepared to like you, and if some people don't like you it's fine, it's normal, it would be crazy weird if it wasn't like that. World is crazy complex and various but there are many people and many customers in the market looking and fitting perfectly your product. You need to give the best to them and slowly other people will follow.
10- How your work and the specialty coffee world are coping with Covid and the new challenges for hospitality?
Well, it is not really coping, it is more floating until this terrible storm will finish. We can't do much against a pandemic, we made some structural change to fight it but the hit has been tough. 2020 was our fourth year, the one where we were seeing finally the results of our first three years of tough work, and it was all gone like that. But we learned a lot from Covid, we learned things we wouldn't have understood otherwise and we concentrate on it, on the experience we made. The rest will come, we'll wait, we'll see.
11- How do you see the specialty coffee scene in 10 years?
I don't know. There are really too many variables to talk about the next ten years. I don't know what will happen in September honestly. We plan 6 months in 6 months, we do right choices and bad choices, right choices makes us happy and we keep along with them, bad choices we try to learn the lesson and to change it as fast as possible. Nothing else.
12- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I can say that I hope in 10 years to be a good roaster, visiting coffee countries, traveling and working in a well set and ethical orienthed food company, but as I said before, it is too hard to see ourself in this moment of blurriness. I hope that a progressist vision of the world would spread more than the conservative and narrow mind oriented one and to be part of this wave and to be wiser than today and to be optimistic like I have always been, with many targets, many plans, many ideas and no useless stress.
13- Any last word? Any tip or suggestion you wanna share with someone that want to start this path?
Don't struggle too much, life unfolds most of the time like a binary path, follow the good vibes, surf the waves, if a door is closed keep it closed, if a door is open, go in.