Come with us for just a moment to a magical place: the city of Florence, Italy, home to centuries of art history, architecture, outrageously good food, and a one-of-a-kind hub of coffee knowledge, craftmanship, and education. In the rolling Tuscan hills outside of Florence you’ll find Accademia del Caffe Espresso by La Marzocco, an international headquarters for coffee innovation and history housed inside of a midcentury working espresso machine factory and home to Officine Fratelli Bambi, a bespoke espresso machine atelier. Sprudge took a world’s first look inside Accademia del Caffe Espresso back in 2019, and after two years (like no other) it’s time to check back in on the latest project in Accademia’s “tradition of innovation,” as per LM CEO Guido Bernardinelli.
Now open to hosting visitors from around the world, the new buzz around Accademia is centered on education. A new range of experiential, educational courses are available for those looking to learn more about the culture and technology of espresso, the drink’s remarkable sensory experiences, and the present day moment for modern coffee. More information about these courses is available via the official Accademia website, but to learn more we sat down with Scott Guglielmino, Product Manager at La Marzocco based in Florence.
Hey Scott—thanks for speaking with us. For starters, tell us more about how the concept of education at Accademia is “in harmony” with the wider
vision for the project.
Education was a key element when creating Accademia. We aim to provide up-to-date coffee education while reducing the philosophical distance between origin and final product. Sustainability, a holistic and open teaching method, and La Marzocco’s philosophy and values are all part of Accademia’s educational vision.
What’s the average amount of time a student will spend at Accademia? Can someone come and take every single course over the course of a week, or is it more like 2-3 days?
Today each course takes four hours, and it would take about 2-3 days to complete all the courses. Over the coming months, we will be adding more courses, these will range from half-day to weeklong.
Who are the instructors at these classes? Can you share with us more about their expertise?
Massimo Battaglia, our Coffee Research Leader is responsible for all topics related to sustainability, coffee origins, and processing of coffee. Massimo has a degree in agricultural science, focusing on coffee in developing countries, his professional career spans over 40 years, and includes living abroad in Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Etiopia, Eritrea, Perù, and Cape Verde.
Nora Smahelova, our Coffee Education Leader is responsible for education on green coffee up to the final cup given to a consumer. Nora has been in the field for over 25 years. She’s worked as a barista, has owned a coffee shop in Berlin, been a green coffee trader, is a German Barista Champion and World Coffee Events Judge.
Marco Purini, our Coffee Specialist, has been working in coffee for 15 years and has a key role in the rising Florentine specialty coffee scene. In Accademia, he’s responsible for the roasting lab, the coffee offering at the Gran Bar, and the coffee tastings/experiences.
Talk to us about how the location of these courses—the historic city of Florence—helps contribute to the atmosphere and experience of learning at Accademia.
Accademia’s location is both in Florence and the home of La Marzocco’s first factory. The art, culture, and innovative spirit of our home fuel our passion and approach, we hope to share this magical spirit with all who visit us.
Who are these classes “for”—how much experience do you need in order to participate? Can you have zero knowledge and enroll? What if you are already quite experienced?
Our educational program is for anyone interested in knowing more about coffee. We offer a range of offerings to ensure everyone can find value, whether it be someone just starting their journey in coffee or after decades of experience, there is always something new we can offer.
Accademia del Caffe Espresso is located at Via Bolognese 68, Pian di San Bartolo, in the hills outside of Florence, Italy. Visits are by reservation only, with hours Monday through Friday. Learn more at the official Accademia del Caffe Espresso website.
Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. He is a 2020 James Beard Award and 2021 Society of Professional Journalists award winner. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge.
Photos courtesy of La Marzocco.
Disclosure: La Marzocco is an advertising partner on Sprudge Media Network.