To acknowledge that the world of Caffè San Domenico by Roberto Messineo in Sant’Antonino, Val di Susa, has spread everywhere, but it is still keeping its core in Piedmont, is for us heartening. Roberto is an artisan very attentive to innovation and with a great capability in “listening” to human needs, and it is true what he says, that we are all interrelated and it doesn’t really matter from where the production chain first starts. But its roots are important, and they are in Sant’Antonino. Summarizing his activity is long indeed and it is well described on his website (www.caffesandomenico.com).
We have to specify that Caffe’ San Domenico represents a handmade activity that privileges high-quality products. The Roastery Master follows the entire manufacturing process: careful choice of raw green coffee beans, roasting still in wood, with the delicate birchwood, over low heat, and so on until when their taste, fragrance, and “sound” are perceived. Here lies his core business, something he has never left, since when he was a young man and met a roaster, who opened to Roberto the doors of his workshop and the pages of his recipe book: “The old craftsmen were very reluctant to share their expertise. Nowadays this behavior may be really dangerous”, he tells us.
We know that in his professional evolution he made a lot of experiences. He often flies high, as from his Aeronautical construction certificate… An eclectic attitude, intellectual curiosity, easiness of interpersonal relationships, all of them individual characteristics, are most important. But as it may occur in other artisanal branches, a whole world reveals to him, from the cooperation with international foodservice brands to his engagement as a teacher or thesis advisor in renowned Universities, from his coffee traceability with blockchain to the role of Coffee Ambassador at Milano Expo on behalf of Slow Food and Rai Expo. And a lot more all around the world. Roberto can reveal all the culture, creativity, sharing, and research that develop after the coffee.
“Each craftsman must recover the expertise of the ancient workshops of the Renaissance, where the care for details used to make the difference. Today it is the time of “all and now”. On the contrary, this attitude requires patience, time, and the possibility for errors, in order to attain a unique and superior quality product. Also, multinational corporations often recall in their advertisements the handmade production, even if they are far away from it because that kind of appeal rewards and successfully impacts the desires of the customers. In my opinion against the myth of mass-production, the sense of the good must reassert itself together with the attention to the detail that complies with the traditions”.
We know, among others, of the upcoming project that will even more valorize the historical center of Torino: “Yes, we are very quietly organizing, just a few steps from Piazza Carignano, the opening of a vintage workshop, where patented capsules of plant nature will be also sold in pouches, together with coffee beans and coffee to be roasted right at the moment in order to be bought “fresh”. Besides the retail, we would like to organize also an online store through a cinematic frame in which a salesman/showman will engage the customers, a true event that will offer more chances to the product. In the future, this framework will be at disposal also for other artisans’ sales. The world of commerce is changing, we have to pay attention to the subtleties, as craftsmen, we don’t have to lower our standards, but firmly keep to our strongpoints, using the most advanced technological instruments.”
Always flying high, playing with imagination as kids, encouraging youth, even in view of creating a future for his activity. Young people able to receive a legacy which is botany, legend, ethic, anthropology, sociality, marketing, costume…. “At the cost of being a little reckless, I suggest to young people to live this moment as a fantastic one, explosive, where the time available is short and therefore eyes must be well-opened and there should be no fear in taking risks. Life is one, let’s not use dreams, but a utopia, as utopia can be realized at least in part. Nowadays young people get stuck and are condemned to grow old early. But we have to react bravely. And we mustn’t forget to look a little inside ourselves without being overwhelmed by the race of time.”
A final question: what does coffee represent and which ones are the favorites? “Coffee is a rite, a big metaphor, a moment for relaxing, a cuddle, happiness. Today I terribly miss not being allowed to taste it in public, for its heartwarming value indeed. My favorite coffees are at the awakening the one reminding me of my mother, during the day the energetic one from Guatemala, in the holidays the Jamaica coffee, perfect with cigars”.