Alessandro Zengiaro: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #22

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Alessandro Zengiaro: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #22

Coffee Shop
1- Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and what’s your job.
Hey guys, I’m Alessandro and I’m from Italy, Turin to be specific. Beautiful city, you should go. I begun my coffee life 7 years ago when my family, a friend and me took over a coffee business to create a Bistrot in Turin, which still keeps on going, called Trebì. There started my coffee journey: 4 years in there and then I decided to make a step forward into, not just coffee, but Specialty Coffee: so 2 years as Barista at . Now, I’m one of those Italians abroad as I’m living in London since two year and a half, when I started a new chapter on my coffee career. The cherry on top of my experience happened just a few days ago, when I won the UK Latte Art Championship. About my job? I am currently working with , a Brixton-based roastery and I am what is called Technical Lead. What am I actually doing? Mainly, fixing broken stuff. I take care of our technical workshop, maintenance of customer’s equipment and ours, I do install for new opening, I manage our spare parts stock… and more… lots of things! And I really do love it, it’s teaching me so much about all the technology behind the equipment I used for years and never quite understood, fully.

2- When and why did coffee become important to you?

Well, I guess back in 2014, when it became my business. Before that, the only coffee I was drinking was the one from the automatic machine in the office. It was not only a beverage… it was simply an excuse to take a five-minutes break from several financial excel sheets.
3- Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than “just a cup of coffee”?

Same year, 2014, when together with a friend of mine, we did a training in with Fabio Verona before start running our own coffee shop. As neither this friend of mine or me knew anything about coffee we decide to do a 5-day training to do things right. That was the moment where, for the first time, someone showed me what there was behind that cup of coffee. From that moment on I never drank anymore “just a cup of coffee”.
4- What’s your favorite thing about going to work in the morning?
If I have to pick one, possibly the most important one are the people I work with: those people has been a kind of family in this two complex years... With them usually your days start with one big hug from each of your colleagues (there are not handshake involved usually), often with some great coffee (when you got time) and some chit chat (even if you have no time). Not a bad way to start your day, even an early Monday. Oh, yes… also I’m working with one of my best mates. So, yes. People is what makes me happy to go to work in the morning.

5- What’s your favorite brewing method and why?
I’d say V60. Never been disappointed, never broke one (important skill, I think, for a daily device), and is the one I definitely used more. I don’t think there is a perfect brewer so I stick with my immortal V60 for my daily brew and I leave the other toys for weekend experiment.
6- Which is the best coffee you ever tasted?
I couldn’t tell… but I remember the one who hit me more: was during one edition of the Milan Coffee Festival and was ’s competition coffee brewed (and Roasted) by Paolo Scimone’s . That coffee was the first time I have ever tasted a world level competition coffee. It was an amazing experience and a very helpful lesson about how incredible can taste coffee when you know what you are doing.

                   Specialty Coffee Community

7- Is there a country of origin that you tend to favor coffee from? Why?
Ethiopia. No doubt. I can’t say no to a washed Ethiopian coffee.
8- Suggest us a roastery to check (not the one you working at/you use at work).

Lately I’ve been really enjoying coffee from .
9- What’s the most important things you’ve learnt while working in the business?
Don’t know, I keep on doing the same mistakes… Possibly I haven’t learnt anything.
10- How your work and the specialty coffee world are coping with Covid and the new challenges for hospitality?
What’s Covid?
11- How do you see the specialty coffee scene in 10 years?
I will see it from a 40-year-old guy’s prospective: hope there will be a good decaf to brew with my V60. (I’m quite sure that V60 will still be the same V60 I’m talking about in the question n.5)
12- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ideally sitting on a beach, sipping beers and complaining about how sunny has been that day. More likely still wandering around the coffee industry and probably in ten years I’ll be back in Italy…
Still not sure the way though. And, to be honest, in this moment I can’t see anything happen after the 18th of June…

13- Any last word? Any tip or suggestion you wanna share with someone that want to start this path?
Comfortable shoes. You will never know enough. Keep of learn as much as you can from people around you: sharing moment with people with your same passion is your best way to grow. Make good plans and of course try to stick to them… “I’ll see what happen” it’s rarely a good idea! (who knows me best would say I’m a bit too much of that though…)
…and the biggest piece of advice is: Do not be a dick, please!✌

                    Assembly Coffee

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