Is there anything more quintessentially Italian than relaxing with a fresh, expertly-roasted cup of coffee? It’s a chance to put life on hold for a moment, whether catching up with colleagues, family, friends or just finding precious time for oneself.
Now Four Seasons Hotel Milano is elevating the art of coffee preparation in collaboration with coffee experts Caffè Vergnano.
Guests who want something other than an espresso or macchiato can have a personalised brewing experience brought to them in the Hotel on a uniquely-designed trolley and made by a barista specially trained at Caffè Vergnano’s headquarters in the Piedmont town of Chieri.
They will be able to discuss with the barista exactly how they want their coffee and from which beans – intense or smooth, fruity or robust, Ethiopia or Jamaica? – and have it ground in front of them then prepared in one of five different ways: by syphon, chemex, cafetiere (or French press), Turkish and gina (see end for descriptions).
“Many of our international guests love traditional Italian coffee but wanted other styles too,” says Four Seasons Hotel Milano General Manager Mauro Governato. “This provides a uniquely-individual experience, something that can be tailored just for them. Guests can enjoy the craftsmanship that Caffè Vergnano embodies and see just how seriously Four Seasons Hotel Milano takes the art of providing them with the best coffee possible.”
“It’s also a perfect example of our Four Seasons Hotel Milano philosophy, of how we can exactly craft something for our guests in whatever they want.”
Caffè Vergnano was founded by Domenico Vergnano near Turin in 1882, and remains a family company, today run by the fourth generation. It exports all over the world to more than 90 countries, and a commitment to quality remains at its core. Its in-house Accademia provides training in all aspects of coffee from growing to roasting and brewing, and is where specially-selected Four Seasons Hotel Milano staff spent time to learn how to prepare an exquisite cup.
“Our coffee tells a story,” comments Caffè Vergnano spokeswoman Carolina Vergnano. “Above all we are about quality. We are a premium product with a proud tradition and history. Of course, our quality fits in perfectly with the culture of Four Seasons. We are a large company these days but our family links still give us a very artisanal dimension.”
But what makes a fantastic cup of coffee? “The origins, the raw materials, the roasting process,” says Carolina Vergnano, “But especially the hand of the barista. We have shared our knowledge with Four Seasons Hotel Milano staff here in our Accademia, our family house that is now a school for coffee.”
One member of staff to receive training is Renzo Mannis, originally from Sardinia. “When I wake up in the morning, just the smell of coffee conjures up so many good memories, and now I love discussing coffee with our guests, finding out exactly what they want, selecting the beans, grinding the coffee in front of them and making the absolute best cup for them. Of course, it also gives me chance to chat with them about Milan if they want. And with the syphon, for example, it’s almost like putting on a show. As well, I can record their preferences for next time, whether that’s the following day or the next time they stay with us.”
The new coffee trolley in association with Caffè Vergnano is yet another way that Four Seasons Hotel Milano is able to individually tailor and elevate guests’ experiences, helping them enjoy their stay even more, whether they are in town for business or leisure.
Explanation of Different Coffee Methods
- Syphon is a vacuum coffee maker that brews by using two chambers where vapour pressure and vacuum produce the coffee.
- Chemex is a manual pour-over style glass coffee maker, with a filter holding the coffee and then hot water poured over.
- Cafetiere/French press is a method where coffee grounds are steeped in hot water and then the grounds pressed down.
- Turkish coffee sees finely-ground coffee brewed in a brass pot.
- Gina is a pour-over machine with a precision valve to control the drip of coffee, an integrated scale and a smartphone app to get the perfect brew.