02 Jan Lavazza Coffee Museum in Turin, Italy
Luigi Luvazza was born on April 24, 1859 in the Italian community of Murisengo, 22 miles east of Turin. His parents were peasant farmers, struggling to carve out a living from the mountainous countryside. In 1885 at 26 years of age Luigi, like many a lad from the Piedmont region of Italy, migrated to the big city of Turin in search of opportunity. He worked during the day and attended trade school at night, where he earned a diploma in chemistry.
In 1895 he made an investment that changed his life and the Italian coffee industry forever. With his own savings and a loan from a former employer, Luigi opened a small grocery store in Via San Tommaso, the historic district of Turin. The store specialized in spices, soap, spirits, oil and coffee. It was coffee that captured his imagination and fueled his ambition. He purchased raw coffee beans from a supplier in Genoa and roasted them in the back of his store. He became a “coffee scholar,” studying the origins and characteristics of coffee plants, the art of blending beans from throughout the world and traveling to Brazil to learn from the experts. Lavazza is given credit for inventing the concept of blending from different geographic areas, considered a distinctive marketing feature today. He created the perfect combination, a blend loved by the people and the key to a growing coffee empire.
One-hundred and Twenty-three years later the Lavazza Group, still owned and operated by the Lavazza family, is considered one of the premier coffee companies in the world, operating in more than 90 countries, exporting 63% of its production, employing 3,000 people with annual sales of €2 billion in 2017. Twenty-seven billion cups of Lavazza coffee are consumed daily worldwide. Known for innovation, the company has produced and sold portioned coffee systems and products since 1993 and was the first Italian company to offer capsule espresso systems.
In 1979 they established the Lavazza Training Center, teaching all things coffee from its origins, to processing, distribution and consumption. Today it is the largest coffee training network in the world with eight centers in Italy and 47 throughout the world. The Training Centers are a wonderful tool to train Lavazza employees, and in positioning the company as the world’s “coffee-know-all.”
To expand its global market share, it has aggressively pursued and purchased complimentary coffee companies around the world: Denmark’s Merrild (2015), France’s Carte Noire (2016) and Espresso Service Proximité (2017), Canada’s Kicking Horse Coffee (2017) and Italy’s Nims (2017).
Museo Lavazza (Lavazza Museum)
The Lavazza Group is known for unique and creative marketing, always with an Italian personality. One of its most impressive marketing projects opened on June 8, 2018: the Museo Lavazza. This is not your traditional museum with antiquities of old, causing your teenage daughter to roll her eyes and continually ask, “are we done yet?” The Lavazza Museum is a fun and creative tour through the pages of coffee history and Lavazza’s significant role in that history. Its purpose is to position Lavazza, not only as a very successful company, but also as a major player in coffee history. Personally, I would have named it something like the Lavazza Coffee Experience or Lavazza Coffee World. One must understand I have two daughters who were, at one time, teenagers.
The Museum was designed by Ralph Appelbaum, one of the world’s largest museum exhibition design firms with offices worldwide. Other projects they designed include Volkswagen’s Autostadt (Wolfsburg, Germany), the NASCAR Hall of Fame (Charlotte, North Carolina) and The Walmart Museum (Bentonville, Arkansas).
Upon entering the Museum visitors are given a Lavazza Cup, mankind’s first smart espresso cup, which they use to activate multimedia installations. It is also used to memorize the sequence of visitor’s interactions through a built-in RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) sensor that connects to the Museum’s IT system. Visitors place their Lavazza Cup on the interactive displays placed throughout the Museum to interact with the screens and take souvenir photos using special stands. At the end of their experience, visitors can activate new immersive projections and send desired content to their email address.
The museum is divided into five distinct galleries, each with a unique design and story to tell:
Casa Lavazza (Lavazza house)
This is an intimate journey through the 123-year history of the company, stopping at milestones reflecting the company’s major accomplishments and challenges.
La Fabbrica (the factory)
The three core elements of Industrial Tourism are the Factory Tour, Gift Shop and Restaurant.
People love to see products being manufactured. Especially if they get samples. The Factory Tour is the heart and soul of Industrial Tourism. The Gift Shop and Restaurant can be found in your local mall. The Factory Tour cannot. Although, to be honest, the La Fabbrica is a creative resemblance of the real thing, but still very cool, educational and fun.
La Piazza (the square)
Reminiscent of a typical Italian piazza in the 1960s, visitors celebrate the coffee ritual in a friendly and inviting atmosphere. The famous Lavazza Autobar, which sold coffee-starved (addicted?) pedestrians up-and-down Italian streets and piazzas, and the ISS-presso, the first capsule machine designed for space travel (I told you they were innovative!) are on display.
L’Atelier (the workshop)
This photo studio reproduction features Lavazza’s 60 years of creative talent with various images and exhibits. Youngsters can enjoy learning workshops while the adults can browse the Paradiso showing television commercials featuring the two classic Lavazza characters Caballero and Carmencita.
It’s like boarding a space ship and rocketing to another surreal world, the World of Lavazza where a person is immersed in all-things coffee, including a tasting session, featuring custom formulated blends from the Lavazza Training Center.
The Gift Shop is satisfied by the Museum Store (memorizzare museo), which provides the cash rich tourists with the opportunity to purchase a wide assortment of Lavazza branded items, quenching their desire to take a little bit of Turin back home and lighten the demands of a persistent wallet.
The Restaurant is doubly satisfied with the upscale Condividere by Lavazza and Bistrot on the lower cafeteria-scale.
According to Guiseppe Lavazza, Vice President, “The aim of Condividere is to combine the excellence of our Italian flavours and our glorious gastronomic history with the spontaneity and joy that so deeply characterize the most profound sense of what we mean by Italian hospitality.” To accomplish this lofty goal, Guiseppe hired Ferran Adrià and Dante Ferretti.
Adrià, who is considered one of the top chefs in the world, was responsible for developing the restaurant’s food concept including hiring up-and-coming Italian chef Federico Zanasi. Ferretti, a three time Oscar-winning set designer who has worked with such acclaimed movie directors as Federico Fellinni, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, was in charge of interior design.
The Bistrot is a reluctant salute to the Slow Food Movement, which is appropriate since the Movement was founded by Italian Carlo Petrini in 1949 in response to the “Fast Food Movement.” The restaurant is divided into three food options:
Tierra! Designed for light eaters and those concerned about their cholesterol and waistlines, offering vegetarian selections, salads, soups and smoothies. The Slow Fooders are delighted.
San Tommaso 10 Named after the address of the first Lavazza grocery store, this is food that any good American can identify with: pizza, sandwiches and fried fast foods. The Slow Fooders must be disappointed and confused.
Murisengo For those believing that, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” will be delighted with the pasta, risotto, secondi and contorni.
The Bistrot is open only for lunch, 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm weekdays, closed Saturday and Sunday.
Nuvola Lavazza (Lavazza Cloud)
The Museo Lavazza is located on the Piazza Verde in the Nuvola Lavazza complex, next to and overshadowed by the ultra-modern, multi-paned Lavazza headquarters building, designed by CZA Cino Zucchi Architetti (Milan, Italy). On one side the Museo is protected from the vagaries of Italian life, as it comfortably hides behind the multi-storied headquarters building while on the other side it is fully exposed and open to the public. The 323,000 sq. ft. headquarters building is designed to accomodate 600 employees. It was built for €120 million. The project, which began in 2010, dominates the Aurora historic district and is considered a significant piece of Turin’s urban renewal.
An astonishing find while excavating for the headquarters building was the discovery of an archaeological site thought to be an ancient Christian basilica. The site, measuring approximately 42 ft. by 66 ft., dates back to early Christianity sometime between the late 4th and mid-5th centuries.
In 2014 Turin, the Soprintendenza Archeologia del Piermonte and Lavazza agreed to develop and enhance the archaeological site to accommodate preservation, exploration and public education. A path along the corner of Via Palermo and Ancona, allows public viewing through large windows, enhanced by informative signage and creative lighting. The site definitely adds to the Museo Lavazza’s tourism destination appeal.
Turin has a history of industry and tourism. It is the headquarters of some of Italy’s best known industrial brands: Fiat, Cafferel and Martini & Rossi. It is also the location of some of the world’s most popular tourism attractions: the Museo Egizio (Egyptian), the Museo Nazional Dell’ Automobile (National Automobile Museum) and the famous Shroud of Turin, believed to be the cloth Jesus was buried in.
Lavazza had the vision to harness the dynamics of manufacturing and tourism together in the Museo Lavazza. The project does what Food Tourism does. It builds a company’s brand while filling the wallets of the company and community.
Few communities have a Lavazza in their backyard, but most have a cluster of small food and beverage companies, or start-ups in a specialty kitchen program, that can provide tenants for a food and beverage Themed Food Park. With good marketing, hard work and time, your Themed Food Park can be just as effective as the Museo Lavazza. If you are fortunate enough to have a recognized food or beverage manufacturer in your community, and they are co-operative and the logistics make sense, make them the anchor of your Theme Food Park. It will be good for them and the community.
If you have extra coin and time and would like to be educated and inspired, I encourage you to visit the Lavazza Coffee Museum in Turin, Italy.
Self Guided Tours
Hours: Wednesdays to Sundays…..10 am – 6 pm, Closed on December 24th, 25th, and January 1st
Address: Via Bologna 32a, 10152 Torino TO, Italy
Phone: +39 011 123456789
Costs: Adults…..€10, Under 26 or over 65, special conventions, groups of 15 or more (reservations required)…..€8, Free Admission for children aged 6 or younger and the disabled and their caregivers.
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Trient Consulting Group Srl