La Sosta is Melbourne-trained Simone Guidi’s “one-man-show” roastery, which has been headquartered in Cascine del Riccio, 30 minutes from Florence, since 2019. No sign greets visitors outside on the street. Instead this is the place for serious experts, no capsules!
Guidi is part of the group that brought the specialty coffee culture to Florence, alongside Lucian Trapanese of D612, and Francesco Sanapo and Patrick Hoffer of Ditta Artigianale. There’s nothing funky about the definition of specialty coffee. We’re talking about the world’s best coffee: 100 per cent faultless arabica, with scores exceeding 80 points. At La Sosta, Bom Dia is the coffee received by visitors as a welcome, an upbeat espresso that balances acidity and fruity notes. Guidi of La Sosta has no interest in the wow factor; he just wants to greet and educate you.
Your passion for specialty coffee means that you deal with small batches of coffee. What drew up to this world?
Specialty coffee is all about the finest selection of coffee produced in small batches. Everything started with the desire that good coffee, which I liked and which excited me, could be replicated by the barista who has to present it to customers or by people who want to enjoy it at home. This is made easier by the accuracy of my research into consistent quality, which was the case with Bom Dia, a single parcel of the best selection by a Brazilian grower whom I visited, met, and whose coffee I checked personally.
Everyone talks about your Queen Bee in the top coffee category where the prices reach 200 euro per kilogram.
When you drink a Queen Bee espresso, the linden honey and citrus flavours are clear; everyone can taste them. It’s a Colombian coffee that follows a special process to separate the bean from the cherry, allowing some of the aromas to be retained, and a double carbonic maceration with must, fructose and yeasts. This unique way of working is paid for by the roasteries just as it is by the end clients; it’s unavoidable. The coffee derived from such an advanced process is unique among our products, which often favour the clarity of the provenance, the manufacturing processes and lighter roasting that does not disguise the origin. As soon as we tasted it, however, we wanted to share it with our clients.
How do you educate people? Who are your clients?
When I came back to Florence in 2016, it felt like I was speaking a different language. Coffee is coffee. What are you talking about? Those were the responses I used to get, even from friends. Refusal was the initial reaction, but then people realized that specialty coffee is lighter, the flavours are more aromatic and it’s more digestible. All of this represents a development you cannot ignore. Now our clients are enthusiasts who appreciate our work, who no longer want to turn down coffee that is enjoyable, wholesome and energizing. In the end, it can be put simply: quality coffee, light roasting, careful conservation and clean equipment.