Urbino Project 2011

Multimedia Journalism in Italy

Cuisine     Culture     Life     Occupations     Student Life    

Gourmet Coffee Made to Order

By Cassie Thunhorst

Pascucci supplies gourmet coffee around the world and to nearby Urbino.

MONTE CERIGNONE, Italy – In the rolling farmlands of the Marche region, amid cattle grazing on steep hills and farmers working their crops, sits the factory of the Pascucci company.

Pascucci is a worldwide supplier of organically grown and locally roasted coffee beans. Its only facility is here, in the heart of traditional, rural Italy.

The Pascucci family has owned and operated the company since 1883. “We combine modern technology with ancient traditions to produce the best quality product,” says Mario Rossi, the operator of the factory. “We roast the same way people roasted beans from the very beginning,”

If we were even 30 kilometers closer to the sea, the humidity would be all wrong.

Rossi, the highest authority below the Pascucci family, describes the importance of this singular location.  Humidity can influence the quality of the roast and thus, the final product.  Here, in tiny Monte Cerignone, the humidity is low nearly year-round, thanks to the location’s perfect balance of altitude above sea level and distance from the Adriatic sea. “If we were even 30 kilometers closer to the sea, the humidity would be all wrong,” he says.

The Pascucci emblem is proudly decorated on this almost 8 feet tall statue.

The Pascucci building stands out in contrast to the farmland surrounding it. This bright, green building stands stories tall with a mural of coffee bean plants scaling the walls. Through the front door, a quest is greeted by a nearly eight-foot tall sculpture of a coffee cup that proudly bears the Pascucci emblem.

The company’s roasting process hasn’t changed for years. There are three stages, any one which, if done incorrectly, can ruin the bean.  First, the beans are rotated in a bin under extreme heat, to remove the moisture.  Then, they are slowly roasted at lower temperatures, for an evenly browned bean. “It’s like when you cook a chicken,” Rossi said. “ f you cook it to fast, it will be burnt on the outside and pink in the middle.  [It’s the] same for coffee beans.”  Finally, they are rotated in a cooling bin, and allowed to “breathe,” as Rossi puts it.  Robust and enticing aromas fill the room.

Technology is used to maintain control of bean placement, before and after roasting, and to preserve the fresh quality through vacuum tight-containers.

But the coffee business does not end here.  Pascucci offers a variety of coffee blends. They start from 12 types of carefully selected green beans, which are then roasted and blended.  These beans are imported from all over the world, and grown by what Rossi refers to as “the best farmers of the best producing countries.”

The farmers are in Haiti, Colombia, India and other coffee-growing nations of the world.  Pascucci, along with purchasing its beans, has helped the Haitian farmer’s bean to become the first certified organic bean in the Pascucci company, through a international organization called FairTrade. “Not only does this certification allow Haitian farmers to send their children to school and get more profit for their crops, it also allows us to advertise our product appropriately [as certified organic],” Rossi says.

Mario Rossi is operator of the Pascucci roasting facility. He explains, in detail, the importance of the location, in Monte Cerignone.

It is clear that the Pascucci company is serious about how it does business. Its customers stay loyal. The company ships its coffee all over the world, but one place it is especially appreciated is in the historic Renaissance town of Urbino, barely an hour away.

Nestled in the narrow streets and steep hills of this city sits “Café Del Academia,” owned and operated by Fabio Gostoli. His café is softly lit by high windows and decorated in local artwork.  Upon entry, customers are quickly greeted by Gostoli’s animated voice, which can be heard from outdoors. He’ll proudly serve the Pascucci product at any time of day. In fact, it is the only coffee he serves.  “You don’t make an appointment with coffee,” he says. “Any time is a good time to drink and enjoy good company.”